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· 1:The Backpatches of NYC (Collection 1)
· 2:The Backpatches of NYC (Collection 2)
· 3:Bollweevils Interview
· 4:Interview with Western Settings
· 5:#408 with Michael Fournier

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Record Reviews

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Yahweh or the Highway: CD
Noisy, exhaustive, caustic, and a sure way to piss off the neighbors, if it doesn’t piss off the listener first. Think Flipper, Suicide, Men’s Recovery Project; disjointed jangles that break off like knife points in a stiff corpse of songs; guitars that come like meteor showers and clang like empty cans or squeal like raped cats. It takes a special type of listener. When I’m so angry I can’t think, this stuff works very well. When I’m in traffic and can’t afford my mellow to be harshed, it’s a bad, bad idea to put on. The lyrics are a hoot, though, and are pretty much all about sex. (“Sometimes I just gotta jerk off/ my nuts are a pressure cooker” and “I told her I don’t like the way her pussy tastes and she said ‘sush’ as she sat on my face” are two random samples.) The album constantly made me grit my teeth and get my jaw all sore. Not for everybody. As a matter of fact, not for a lot of people, but if you like your music not necessarily pissed off, but will make you a fucking angry hornet, here you go. Have to give ‘em points for not being emo. –todd (Skin Graft)

The Last Romance: CD
Although Arab Strap may seem like a relative newcomer to many, this Scottish duo has actually been around for ten years. In fact, they were helping out Songs:Ohia on their Axxess and Ace album that came out back in 1999, so they’ve definitely been around the block a few times. Despite opening up for Bright Eyes last year and starting to achieve the early stages of what some might call “indie fame,” much of this doesn’t tread any new ground for the indie rock scene. It seems much like most other indie sounds with Scottish vocals attached. And while those Scottish vocals can be endearing, they do take a while to get used to for those of us used to hearing American or even British vocals. Some of the songs are acoustic, others seem more traditional lighter indie rock fare, but nothing seems too dangerous and the whole time I can’t help but think of the 1990s Scottish alternative band Whipping Boy that no one but my friend Jason or I seem to remember. –kurt (Transdreamer)

Ikara: CD
What starts off with sappy minimal piano practice progresses into sappy sleepy interminable dance music that sounds like Depeche Mode dying of chronic diarrhea. I looked at Scene Police’s website and it seems like they got some great shit; I hope I never find out why the fuck they put this out. –Cuss Baxter (Scene Police)

This Gent's a Scoundrel: CD
Florida band's three-song sampler from an upcoming full-length. Apparently, the band is kaput after a brutal fall tour. Too bad. I dug the stuff I got on this taster. "Who Gave Ooner the Dope?" features some cool guitar lines that chug along like a freshman at his first kegger. "Lee's Dead on Alt. 19" was also quite pleasing, and usually I don't like these scream-at-full-volume vocals; this was an exception. The EP takes a complete 180 with "Admission to a Blowbird": acoustic guitar with a cello and singing like Gordon Gano on vocals. For some reason it reminds me of the Replacements' first B-side that Westerberg did solo. I'm sure the whole CD delivers, so buy it before it dissolves itself out of print. –koepenick (ADD)

The “Dante” EP: CDEP

It doesn’t look that good, but by god it’s punchier than a waxed weasel! Five tracks of high-energy '77-via-now head-bobbing delight in the realm of Naked Raygun getting the Rip Off treatment. Too bad it’s so fuckin’ short.

–Cuss Baxter (www.arcadeinferno.com)

Tonight, St. Pete Burns: CD
When this came in, I thought it was a DVD since it was in a DVD case. I think some grindcore band did the same thing a couple of years ago, and when somebody tried to convince me that it was a brilliant idea, I responded by pointing and laughing. So this isn’t a DVD, it’s a regular old CD. Both bands are treading on the same ground as the Jack Palance Band and American Steel, and while I wouldn’t exactly call that “hallowed ground,” it’s definitely not a bad thing in my book. And I’ve said this about fifteen times already, but hand-screened covers are pretty cool.  –Josh (Network of Friends)

Uroboros: CD
There’s something about these guys that reminds me of White Zombie without all the horror schlock, but their heavy-duty hippie sludge don’t do a thing for me. –jimmy (www.4wallsrecords.com)

Canadian Horse: LP
Think of Agathocles and Doom mixed with Spazz. Mincecore madness that points out the absurd in “the scene”; dogs at shows, porn-grind, crusties, as well as things like monkeys and wolves. It’s pretty obvious from the cover art of someone on a horse with a saxophone where this band is coming from (“Mincecore Fabio”!?). Multi vocal growls and grunts over a din of guitar and choppy drumming. You know if this is your thing or not. Good for a listen or two. –Matt Average (To Live A Lie, tolivealie.com)

Derdang Derdang: CD
Sounds like the desire to be recorded at Toe Rag Studios crossed with the desire to make the first PiL album, but not to the point of actually recording it at Toe Rag Studios nor including a “Fodderstompf” analogue. Initial repulsion followed by moderate interest and above average workplace use. I think if i was watching this band and standing next to Billy Childish, I would peek to see if he clapped before i followed suit. BEST SONG: “Jab Jab” BEST SONG TITLE: “Dart For My Sweetheart” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: First line of “Cherry Lips”: Lovely finger tips upon my lips, I don’t think I’ll get get get it.” First line of “How I Sang Dang”: Healthy finger tips upon my lips, I don’t think I can get over it.” OOO-kay… –norb (Domino)

Self-titled: 7”
Please keep in mind that this review is being filtered through the drunken near-epiphany-like experience I had seeing Arctic Flowers at Chaos In Tejas back in May. Sure, I could barely stand but I was snared and dragged in. I honestly didn’t see how this record could possibly live up to that moment. It does... and then some. As soon as the needle hit the groove, I was mesmerized. The rhythm section locks you into the song and the guitar rips you apart. The vocals begin and the last piece falls into place. The best thing about the three songs here is the true sense of desperation, anger, fear, and depression that comes across without resorting to screaming. Vocalist Alex has a beautiful voice and even when it seems like she’s right on the edge, she still keeps it together. More records please (and come play somewhere near me)! –ty (myspace.com/arcticflowerspdx)

Reveries: LP
I’m a bit slow at times. My mind gets lost with all the information out there. Heard about this band from Portland and the great reviews they were receiving. I put it on my mental list and filed it away. A 7” came out. Forgot to buy it. They came through town and I missed the show. A split came out afterwards and forgot to buy that. When I saw a pre-sale for a new full length, I sent my money before I got sidetracked. Luckily, I acted quickly. The LP sold out quickly. A repress is in the works, due to its demand. So my thoughts about the album? Fantastic! I am a big nerd for female-fronted bands. So brownie point number one. I’m on a big post punk kick lately. They fill that and more by incorporating anarcho punk and solid rocking rhythms that have punk energy. It’s like taking the solid punk foundation of Signal Lost and adding a more brooding sound that Witch Hunt had on their last record. The guitar work is immaculate; creating textures and emotions that a band like the Red Dons use to maximum advantage. The eight songs that are provided are well crafted and feel like they went through the maturity process before being released. I hope this band doesn’t implode too soon before I can experience more. For my first introduction, like heroin, I want more. –don (Inimical)

Procession: 12” EP
I can’t be the only one who wishes that funeral songs were more catchy and less mopey. Arctic Flowers agrees. They play up early ‘80s goth to the hilt: quasi-Egyptian symbology? Check. (No ankh, but the “Eye of Horus” eyeball.) Ruins and/or druids and/or crop-circley imagery? Check. At least a couple of early Siouxie, Bauhaus, Super Heroines, and/or 45 Grave records in heavy rotation? Check. We’re in the midst of a slew of music revivals and jokes I haven’t used in decades are coming back to me: What’s worse than someone throwing up into your mouth? A dead person throwing up into your ears. Kidding aside—I listened to this type of stuff a lot growing up because that’s how the punk/goth detente was established in the mid- to late-‘80s when punk was sucking wind. The good news is that Arctic Flowers fall on the Christian Death/actual good punk band playing somber music side of the equation. They match the ooky-spooky with pumping blood and actual guitars and drums, not Casios keyboards overladen with effects. Nice. –todd (Self-released, distro’d by Feral Ward)

Weaver: LP
Portland’s Arctic Flowers unveil their second full length of that unmistakable northwest punk style also heralded by compatriots Criminal Code and Red Dons. A potent concoction of the Observers’ sharpest edges and the post-punk flag waving of Flesh World mixes in nicely with some fiercer numbers such as the rager “Anamnesis.” Something tells me that Arctic Flowers’ songwriting prowess has yet to reach its zenith and that the well of talent that they’ve tapped won’t be running dry anytime soon. Absolutely mandatory.  –Juan Espinosa (Deranged)

Split: 7”
This is a repress of a 7” that came out in 2011. Portland’s Arctic Flowers offer one tune in their anarcho punk-influenced melodic fare, while Spectres bring a more synth-filled offering, heavy and seemingly influenced by ‘80s U.K. post-punk. Arctic Flowers are the standout here with Spectres being an enjoyable bonus from a band I had not yet heard of. If you missed out on this previously then, you now have another chance. –Mark Twistworthy (Man In Decline, manindeclinerecords.com)

Self-titled: LP
Picked this up from my local record shop after Davila 666 last came through town —guess they sold a few copies to the store. Ardillas (which the Internet translates from Spanish to mean either “squirrel” or, as an adjective, “sharp, clever”) hail from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and features two members of Davila 666. Even considering them the separate bands they are, I can’t help but hear some similarities (they share a drummer so the drums are bombastic and fill-happy) but there are enough differences to distinguish the two (the mix isn’t completely drenched in reverb; songs are less noisy.) According to the internet, this band has been around for ten years! The songs are anthemic, punk pop, part Sex Pistols (the snot), part Dead Boys (the big drum sound and the snot), with the occasional guitar heroics (“Todo Es Mierda”). Marble gray vinyl adds a nice touch. –Sal Lucci (Chacho, chachorecords@gmail.com)

Linda Niña: 7"
Nice bit of swaggering Boricua punk from this Davila 666-related (though they apparently predate their popular relatives by many years) band. Though there are some commonalities between the two bands, including members, Las Ardillas leans more towards a ‘70s sensibility than a decade earlier, which makes for a cleaner, beefier sound and a bit more wiggle in the hips. The Killed by Death-friendly contingent will find much to dig here. –Adrian Chi (Slovenly)

Self-titled: CD
A single, looooong track of sludgy metal. In a fit of sheer masochism, I managed to make it to the twenty-five-minute mark before sending it sailing out the window. –jimmy (Anti-Corporate Music)

One Day One Night (Live): CD
Strange—“live” is included in the title, yet it doesn’t sound live at all, unless there was somehow no crowd noise (in which case, what’s the point?)? Anyway, this is some metal on the slower side, that features some very operatic vocals, as well as keys that reach out over a full range, sometimes also operatic, sometimes like a harpsichord (usually fitting, either way). Admittedly, I’m more likely to put on something like Motörhead or Manowar, but I won’t knock this. –joe (Zero Substance)

The Forest of Damned Souls: CD
If you saw the title of this album and I also told you this was grind metal, would it then surprise you if I said that it was hard to read the name of the record label on the back of the CD? Growling and screaming vocals, organ-like keyboards, blast beats, cryptically hard to decipher font—yep, all here. –kurt (Zero Substance)

Great Combat Performances: CD
Some Clash worship from a band that calls Argentina home. They aren’t too bad on the whole and there’s enough originality left to put ’em a notch above Rancid and the like. –jimmy (KOB)

Himnos de Combate: CD
A collection of singles tracks released domestically to support this long-running Argentine band’s upcoming US tour. Musically, this leans toward the Clash side of the punk equation, right down to the fascination with reggae, yet they manage to retain enough individuality to keep from ending up in the dung heap of bands ripping off days past (cough…Rancid…cough). A damn fine collection and proof that the United States and England aren’t the only hotbeds of punk rock greats. –jimmy (Cochebomba)

Shoot the Moon: CD
Sludgy stoner rock about as exciting as the last Soundgarden LP. Pass the bong, I think I’m Ozzy. –jimmy (Infect)

Atavism: CD
Heavy modern hardcore, all the way from Moscow. They definitely have listened to a lot of ‘90s bands like Integrity, Acme, Starkweather, and the rest. The music is more metal than punk: the song structures are complex, time changes galore, crushing wall of guitar, and a vocalist who sounds like he’s in constant agony. This is not my favorite style of music, but they do a good job of it, and, unlike a lot of current bands of this genre, Argument 5.45 never stray into that shitty emo sing-songy stuff. They keep the music direct and pummeling. This disc is limited to 250 copies, housed in a tin with cards for lyric sheets, adorned with some awesome artwork from Seryozha “Milkpack” Parshakov. –Matt Average (OSK, oskrecords.com)

Songs from the Streets: CD
Some average-to-better-than-average oi from England here. Although the gruff vocal thing is kinda hackneyed and annoying, the lyrics are pretty good and some of the songs are mighty snappy. This was way better than I expected. –jimmy (Captain Oi)

The Freak Power Candidate: CD
Long intros and intricate or repetitive guitar solos might drag out the songs and confuse you but it’s refreshing in a toothpaste kind of way. The progression in the music leads to some amazing tracks if you dig into the whole Steve Albini thing. A lot of the songs are hit or miss but I’m still giving it a gold star. –Guest Contributor (Volcom)

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