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Record Reviews

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Tree & Bird: 7”
This formerly of L.A. and now residing in Portland two-piece has matched, if not improved on, their previous self-titled 7”. On Tree & Bird’s two tracks, Rachel Lynch riffs around with garage punk chords and shout-sings just under the throat-wrecking level, calling out her connection to the natural world outside of mega-jumbo urban areas. And, yeah, we all love cities (bars, busses!), but cities also have gross plastic bags screaming in the trees and exhaust coating all of your possessions, so between knowing intuitively that cities are kinda gross and hearing the raw sparseness of Blood Buddies songs, lyrics like, “If you’re looking for me / If you’re lost / If you really need me / I’m on a mountaintop” become simultaneously alarming and catchy. In the absence of second guitar or a single bass, all that remains is great songwriting: hooks, sharp edges, and the slight shock that hits you when you hear uninhibited rock for the first time in a long time.  –Jim Joyce (Ghostbot)

Disappoint Yourself: CD
There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a band that decides to get a bit ambitious. Even if they don’t quite succeed, the fact that they’re making a concerted push to find a sweet spot amidst a shitload of staid pigeonholes. Blood Cookie casts a wide net here—no wave-inspired skronk with odd time signatures, uptempo punk, noise pop reminiscent of both Mission Of Burma and mid-period Sonic Youth, alt-rock—and wonder of wonders, they do a pretty handy job of smacking every one into deep center field. Given the level of work put in here, I give ‘em two releases, at the very most, before they find a way to meld all of their influences into something truly mind-bendingly great. As it is, this’ll be spending some quality time in the listening rotation.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Blood Cookie)

THE: 13: CD
An odd record that features ex-Angry Samoan Greg Turner. More on the college rock side of things than punk. Songs that sound like children’s riddles to sonic ‘60s garage to the blues. The lyrics are pretty interesting and sound abstract to an average person while it makes perfect sense to the author. If you want to hear something outside the box, this might make your prostate swell. –Donofthedead (Triple X)

13: CD
Heaping slops of psych-rock, trash punk, Leonard Cohenisms, lyrics that touch upon what goes on in one’s mind, semi-acoustic ramblings, and other assorted weirdness are mooshed together on a plate with a side of “Chupacabra Rock ‘n’ Roll.” A bizarre meal, indeed, but when one of the chefs responsible for this meal is Angry Samoan guitarist Greg Turner, the mess before you, as well as the cover of “Little Black Egg,” which was a staple of the Samoans’ set, makes complete sense. Is this the long-hoped-for answer to Back from Samoa? No, so get over it. Is it a good listen? Without a doubt. –Jimmy Alvarado (Triple X)

Outlaw Anthems: CD
I’d heard some good things about these guys, so I figured “what the fuck,” and picked it up, thinking that maybe Victory had finally released something worth a piss. Nope. What you get is more of the same: bad metal with a singer who sounds like an impotent pro wrestler wannabe, all dolled up nice and purty as “hardcore” so you can bang your bald little heads and think you’re really rebellious, man. It’s a damn good thing I’m not emperor of the universe, ‘cause I would’ve found the world’s largest piece of toilet paper and wiped Victory Records and every weak, fake-assed bullshit band they’ve ever come in contact with off the face of the earth. –Jimmy Alvarado (Victory)

Respect Our Loyalty: CD
Musically, I love hardcore music. You get the heavy guitar riffings of metal and the anger of punk. Lyrically, I find it amusing that there is so much posturing about loyalty and such. Like it’s a self-esteem problem and you have to overcompensate to show that you belong. You will most likely never find me at a hardcore show. From what I have seen in the past and seen on videos, I could not stand the crowd with all that machismo going around. In terms of music though, I’m pretty easy going. I usually focus on the music. As long as it’s not racist, sexist, or lyrically remedial in the fourth grade sense, I can usually listen. I like to bang my head sometimes, so this does appeal to me. With a great recording, the guitars are crunchy and the bass and drums are solid. Adding musicianship, these chaps know how to play and write some mighty mean tunes. Everything I like in a band like Strife is represented here. Full of energy and rage. –Donofthedead (Spook City)

Cashed Out on Culture: CD
What’s not to love about an Irish punk rock band that looks like Rancid and sounds like the Swingin’ Utters if Johnny had been born in Dublin? I love the traditional arrangements mashed together with boot-stomping beats. This is not a sentimental record. Cashed Out on Culture indicts the Republic for what its become since the massive economic infusion from the EU. With pockets stuffed with cash, there are more wankers in the streets of Dublin than ever before. Perfect time for pissed punks to pick up their instruments and play them as fast and as loud as they can. –Guest Contributor (Punk Core)

No Time to Explain: CD
More traditional Irish music punked up for your listening pleasure. I really liked this kinda stuff when it was first coming out, but, like ska, pop punk, punk‘n’roll, emo and nearly everything else, it’s starting to wear a little thin, kids. Time to exploit another country’s music, like Bavaria or something. –Jimmy Alvarado (mero@eircom.net)

Monster Truck Man: CD
The good part about bands writing lyrics in English when English is not their native tongue is that it can give them a wider audience. The bad part is that it can make them sound like a bunch of fucking assfaces to a wider audience. I’m not talking about little grammatical errors. I’m talking about lyrics that discuss the “race problem.” Here’s another nugget (typos included): “sluty girls make lots of noise bout equal rights, so boys looks like a women, when girls just wanna fuck, of course there have place some hi feeling shit, but after 3 cans of cheap beer they’ll fall to love pit.” I’m more confused than offended. Please write your lyrics in Russian, Blood Pollution, so I can ignore your music simply because it sucks without having to wonder what the fuck you’re trying to say. –MP Johnson (bloodpollution.bandcamp.com)

Self-titled: 7” EP
Wow, these cats don’t fuck around in the least. They go right for the throat with some tasty full-bore thrash reminiscent of early Gang Green with maybe just a bit more musical sophistication, and don’t let up until you’re good ‘n’ bruised up. Thumbs definitely way up for this bad boy. –Jimmy Alvarado (Beach Impediment)

The Colors of Chaos: LP
This debut out of Alabama combines shock rock, goth, and good ol’ fashioned punk. If you didn’t know they were into BDSM by lookin’ at ‘em, the name of the lead singer oughtta tip you off: Miss Stress Tamantha. Like The Genitorturers, BRBB bring elements of performance art to their shows where they’ve been known to flog members of the audience. Part 45 Grave, part Naked Raygun, their awesome guitar work and galloping drums left me bouncing and bobbing. However, there were times I really wanted the vocals to be as punched up as the rhythm section. Still worth a listen just for the high energy and quality tunes; plus, the colored vinyl is sick: half blood red and half baby blue. Definitely recommended for those who desire a little more punishment in their lives. –Kristen K (No Profit)

Churchfolk and Sinners: CD
Pretty decent punk rock from San Clemente, California! The singer is clearly influenced by Exene Cervenka (singer for X, dudes!), and this whole CD has a sorta Avengers/X/LA feel, mixed with the tiniest bit of crusty punk. It could be a lot more catchy, for my tastes, but if they rock live, they’d win me over. If this were a cereal, it’d be Raisin Bran. The bran is your standard punk rock and the raisins are the crust punk! I am really dumb. –Maddy (Volume Disk)

Complete: CD
Crusty hardcore sportin’ a very heavy Euro/Scandi influence. Both the metal and Discharge influences are kept in check. Not bad. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.hardcoreholocaust.com)

Nazi Scum Burn in Hell: 7” EP
While these kids hail from San Diego, they sound like they just crawled out from the Wayback Machine after leaving Ohio or thereabouts circa 1981. Quick-tempo hardcore, plenty pissed off about what they’re pissed off about and proficient enough with their instruments to make a good impression. Looking forward to hearing more from ’em. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.myspace.com/bloodstainedreality)

Fuck You Go Die: 7” EP

Six more tracks of straight-ahead hardcore from a band that hails from San Diego but sounds like they’ve just gotten back from a trip with Out Cold to an ‘80s Midwestern hardcore show. Good, good stuff with a mighty purty picture of a cop bleeding on the cover, to boot.

–Jimmy Alvarado (www.myspace.com/escozoomusic)

Fuck You Go Die: 7"
Here’s a funny story: When I was still in L.A., I brought this 7” home from Razorcake HQ to check out. I ended up bringing it back. That was back in July ‘09. Typically, one brings shit back to HQ when one can’t think of shit to say about a band, being rather indifferent to it. To those living outside of the area, review materials are sent out on a bi-monthly basis. I recently moved away from L.A. This came to me on the most recent mail out of review material. This seems to indicate that somebody else took it home for a period of time (no more than one issue’s worth of time) and then brought it back. So I’m taking it that I am not alone in my assessment. Anyway, this is kinda whatever hardcore. Shit is played hard—and seemingly with conviction—but nothing too remarkable. –Vincent Battilana (EZM, myspace.com/escozoomusic)

Tomorrow the World: CD
Modern day hardcore that is heavy with testosterone-filled metal. Tons of chugga chugga guitar riffs to make the kids do that weird kung fu break dance thing in the pit. Yelled vocals sound like the vocal chords are in the brink of shredding. Their bass and drums are so bottom-heavy they can make an average person mysteriously head bang. Hey! They are from So. Cal? Not really the type of band I would go see live. I would most likely never run across them. Like the music, hate the fans. –Donofthedead (Spook City)

Bottlesick: CD
Good for what it is, I guess, “it” being loud, mid-tempo punk rock with the requisite rude titles/lyrics and a cover of the Damned’s “New Rose.” Somehow, though, it still failed to impress. Maybe I’m just not in the mood right now or something. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sounds of Subterrania)

Self-titled: CD
Skull art = punk rock. It’s the mathematical punk rock recipe for success, right? The tongue is bit off, the eyeballs are poppin’ out, the skull cap has exploded, leaving that big fluffy brain exposed. I take my cover art quite literally, so, to me, this means that listening to Blood Vessels’ new self titled CD on Teenage Heart Records will make your head explode, just like the dude in Scanners. It would seem that, upon further inspection of recorded material, I was sadly mistaken because all of my innards and skeletal features are intact. It’s a bummer for me to come to the realization that skull cover art doesn’t always equate to kick ass punk music. The whole system is breaking down. God damn you, Blood Vessels. –Dave Disorder (Teenage Heart)

False Gestures for a Devious Public: CD
Having only previously heard “Such Fun” on one of the oi compilations and “Stark Raving Normal” on another comp I forget the name of, the rest of this disc, a reissue of their album, was a bit of a surprise. Although there’s quite a bit of metal in them geetars, there’s a definite Peter and the Test Tube Babies feel to much of the tuneage here, a good chunk of which thrashes along in wild abandon. The lyrics, for the most part, are either pointed potshots at the pope or of the cleverly dumb variety hell-bent on offending as much of the population as possible, an approach that is heartily encouraged in these parts. The addition of assorted bonus tracks from singles, comps, and demos make this a nice overview of the band’s career. –Jimmy Alvarado (Captain Oi)

Jihadcore: 7”EP
It’s a supergroup of somewhat known, yet highly loved and respected guys. If drunk is the new genius, then these four dudes have made the Manhattan Project of partying, (substituting cubes of Pabst for Little Boy), puking, and pooping Adderall yellow. What that means is if you like any one of the following bands—of which Paddy, Davey, Ben, and Mike hail from—you’ll just have to go out and buy a record you don’t own and already like: Dillinger Four, Tiltwheel, J.Church, Cleveland Bound Death Sentence, The Minds, Snakepit comics (not a band, but you get the idea), The Observers, and Dan Padilla. It’s duct tape, serious-thought-but-they-won’t-readily-admit-it, create-your-own-world-and-live-in-it-while-having-a-good-time punk. –Todd Taylor (Little Deputy)

Punk Planets: 7”EP
Expectations destroy. Schedules are for squares. Being on time gives you ulcers. Knowing what day of the week it is is a weakness. All weed is medicinal. The part of the burrito that runs down your arm? That’s where all the vitamins are. This was recorded way before caffeine and taurine were taken out of Sparks. Beer = brain food. A motivational speech goes as following: “I like pickles! I like bunnies!” Supergroups = Damn Yankees. In April of 2005, Paddy Costello (D4), Mike Napkin (Observers), Davey (Tiltwheel), and Ben Snakepit (J. Church) oiled up their party bellies, shaved for battle, and got down to the business at hand of making… a purely American record. It’s a paradox. It simultaneously supersedes and falls short of expectations. It’s a mess, but it sounds chaotically alive. It’s a clever gimmick—all the way, starting with the name—but it’s not a joke record that lives out its welcome after a spin or two. If George Carlin grew up listening to Ass Rash, Battalion Of Saints, and the Effigies? Maybe. Dudes having fun, wanting dudes of both genders to have fun with ‘em? That’s the target demographic. “Did you just puke on the carpet?” –Todd Taylor (Little Deputy / Recess)

Self-titled: CD
Simplistic punk rock from Las Vegas. With song titles like “Tokyo Pop Shot,” “Godzilla Go-Go,” and “Cunt Cunt,” you can pretty much figure out what yer gonna get with this. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bloodcocks UK, bloodcocksuk.com)

Hell Bent for Letters: CD
You gotta love Bloodhag. Seriously, it’s a law in some states. They’re just so friggin’ good that you really can’t help yourself. Sure, they’re essentially a burp-metal band, but four things make ‘em rise above the pack: 1) their songs rarely break the two-minute mark, which means no guitar wanking; 2) their songs are well constructed and, frankly, rock; 3) instead of dwelling in some faux sci-fi universe where metal is king, the chicks wear only loincloths (actually, that one has its merits, but I digress) and robots have feelings, they opt instead to literally sing biographies in homage of those who write about such worlds in ways that don’t suck (this time around, Douglas Adams, Poe, Anne McCaffrey, Madeleine L’Engle, Franz Kafka and Phillip Jose Farmer are among the scribes paid tribute); 4) books are cool, and they obviously love books. That last one alone—given that we now live in a world of iPods, laziness and short attention spans—puts ‘em in the running for “saints” status. Easily the best band that ever rocked a library, and y’all muhfuggahs betta recognize. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alternative Tentacles)

Necrotic Bibliophila: CD
In a quick nutshell, Bloodhag, in all seriousness, are a black or death or scary metal band of geeks that sing exclusively songs about science fiction authors, replete with almost impossible-to-decipher, unholy vocals and chonka chonka riffage that comes out of the sky like lightning. I like them a bunch, perhaps because they sound so tough and their music could pound Korn into the soft earth, and they’re saying, essentially, “read science fiction, you dink.” It’s a definite plus there’s a lyrics sheet, that you have to read. And reading and literacy is their mission in life. Like thick glasses on a human skull, they coalesce the tenets of NorthWest EduCore (slogan – “Reading is… fuuuuck you”), along with proper library etiquette, and they get down to the business at hand: making your ears bleed and your mind expand. Standouts include the lyrics in “Octavia E. Butler” – “Don’t make Octavia write for a hundred years before you treat Black women as good as guys with pointed ears”; in “William Gibson,” the lyrics – “Dystopian vision forged with typewriter ribbon”; and the male falsetto voice in “Kenneth Robeson.” Skullastically sounding like pissed-off, peed-on mutants with extra arms (for extra thrashing), Bloodhag continue to discover new ways of re-interpreting the phrase, “Get lit.” Yeah, it’s recommended… like a reading list. –Todd Taylor (Rock and Roleplay)

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