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Record Reviews

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BOMBSITE:
1994: CD
This limited edition CD was released in conjunction with the Extreme Noise Records Twentieth Anniversary show, which reunited many of the bands that were rocking the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in the mid-’90s to celebrate the longevity of my favorite record store. Bombsite was one of those bands. Two things are important: First is how not-twenty-years-old this music sounds. Second is the way this band tapped into a style that has weaved its way through the Twin Cities punk scene since the beginning. You’ve probably heard it. It’s that torn jeans, calloused hands, playing our hearts out, hopeful for sunny days sound that continues to hold sway in this region to this day. This style feels right here, where winters are so dark and crushing. These sounds feel warm, and Bombsite made these sounds so well, adding their own unique touch. I love that I can now listen to this and think about how generation after generation, the kids in Minneapolis and St. Paul climb out of their homes and slide through January winters into cinder block basements, still wearing their jackets, just excited to jump around and raise fists and have fun and survive another year.  –MP Johnson (Self-released)


BOMBSITE BOYS:
Top Hits: 7” EP
A little bit o’ somethin’ for everybody here: a little bit o’ '60s jangle, a little bit o’ '70s power pop, a little bit o’ punk. Kinda reminiscent of those '70s bands that liked skirting the fine line between mod and punk. Not bad at all. –Jimmy Alvarado (Myopic)


BOMBSITE BOYS:
Replete With: CD

As a rule of thumb, I try to stay away from bands with ties. It goes back, I’m sure, to the dreadful days of new wave; the Cars, Elvis Costello, The Knack... sort of a gawky, zit-faced puberty era in the upbringing of rock'n'roll. I learned back then that, like bright yellow spots on poisonous salamanders, ties portend bad things: skinny dorks with bowl cuts, synthesizers and all other manifestations of hell. But then along came ripping bands like the Hives and Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, who rocked my face off while wearing ties. I seemed to be finally working through my “tie band” aversion. Now the Bombsite Boys come along, introducing me to the tie and top hat look. But it’s supposed to be about the music, right? Well, musically, the Bombsite Boys suckle that same safe teat of innocuous pop punk that so many other bands live and die by. Fuck it, it’s just pop – except for a couple songs. There’s very little punk about it. Yet another band with no real teeth, just pasteurized, homogenized punk leanings. Today's lesson: beware of ties and top hats. It might have worked for certain 19th century U.S. presidents, but it doesn't work in rock.

 

–aphid (Myopic)


BOMBSTRIKE/LEGION 666:
Split: 7”
Bombstrike: Swedish D-Beat that carries on the tradition of a country that produces great punk bands. The vocals are harsh and in a yelled fashion. The guitars are important when you play this type of punk. They have to be very heavy with a lot of distortion. They fill that requirement. The bass is also distorted and that is a plus. It makes the sound bottom heavy. The drums are more than competent and they drive home that bass heavy sound. Legion 666: D-Beat crust with a down and dirty metal sound by way of Canada. If you haven’t bought their great split LP with Brazil’s Sick Terror, you are missing out. Their first song starts out with a wicked metal intro and goes into D-Beat glory. Also included is a Crude SS cover! Two songs each and worth the effort of seeking out and purchasing. –Donofthedead (Schizophrenic)


BONA ROBA:
Cunningham Park: 7"
Garage rock that, while it isn’t bad per se, just never quite goes over the edge, making it safe for Hives fans to dig. The B-side was much better. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.sonico.de)


BONDS, THE:
Not a Phase: CDEP
Canadian hardcore outfit that could easily say they are from New York. They definitely have the NYHC sound down. The music and lyrics are interchangeable with most of the bands from that genre. Decent band, just nothing I haven’t heard over and over before. –Toby Tober (Tuned To You)


BONECRUSHER:
Fractured: 2X CD
Bonecrusher has always been one o’ those bands I have mixed feelings about. They are one of the dismally few oi-influenced American bands that actually GET IT, and they do crank out a mean racket, but sometimes they fail to do it for me. I usually chalk it up to the mood I’m in at the time and await the next release and that’s usually turned out to be a good way of approaching things. Collected here on two discs are all their early singles and the Followers of a Brutal Calling LP, plus an unreleased gem. I must be in the perfect mood for ‘em, ‘cause this is just making my day. If you’re new to Bonecrusher or a fan wanting to catch up on their back catalog, look no further than this. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.knock-out.de)


BONECRUSHER:
Tomorrow Is Too Late: CD
I never thought I’d put the word “subtlety” and Bonecrusher in the same sentence. For a blue collar, simple and heavy-as-concrete band that bases its reputation on hard work for little pay and gigs for beer, it’s the little things that make this CD stand head and shoulders above the street punk and oi throngs. Usually, this type of music doesn’t age gracefully (see current day Cock Sparrer). To avoid being a parody of their former selves, they’ve mixed things up ever so slightly. There are some songs about loneliness and despair on this record. This works well for them. Bonecrusher’s still got the blunt force power of a band like the Anti-Heroes, the prison-strong muscling of the debut Discontent’s Who Killed Vinyl? 7”, and they could probably take any other band down in a no-holds-barred belt fight. That’s been established, but it’s the guitar work and drumming on Tomorrow Is Too Late that’s keeping me reaching back to this CD. I can’t help but snap my fingers along to the songs. For some reason, this record’s much better than their last effort, The Good Life, and on par with their best work, circa Working for a Living. Happily surprised. –Todd Taylor (Knock Out)


BONECRUSHER:
The Good Life: CD EP
It looks like Ray ain’t singin’ for ‘em anymore, and they sound more like yer average skinhead band than ever. Ain’t my cup o’ tea, but it ain’t bad for what it is, I guess.  –Jimmy Alvarado (Class War)


BONECRUSHER:
The Good Life: CDEP
Bonecrusher’s always been about fighting the good fight. On first listen, without paying attention to the lyrics, it’d be easy to dismiss them as a bunch of thugs who have a reputation for beating up people who come to their shows and rip out the occasional light fixture from a club’s ceiling. Surprisingly, a good number of their songs are about the nobility of work, the power of unions, and standing on your own two feet. Their previous CD on Hostage, Working for a Living, was tougher than the back of a stone mason and rougher than the calluses on a carpenter’s hands. All of the basic elements are here in The Good Life, but I can’t help but think something’s missing. Fire? Direct intimidation? Fear of instant teeth loss? It’s definitely a decent CD, but it doesn’t have me ready to spring out of the way and seek a safe haven when I pop it in the player like their earlier efforts did. Can’t quite put my finger on it.  –Todd Taylor (Class War)


BONECRUSHER:
Our Nations Burning: 10”
Bonecrusher is one of those bands that keeps plugging away year after year, defying whatever is trendy at the time. All four of these mid-tempo, anthemic, passionate, oi/streetpunk tracks are extraordinarily catchy and potent. I typically prefer Bonecrusher’s earlier material to most of what followed, but this terrific release is a true return to form. The vivacious shout-outs and sing-a-longs, led by uncommonly melancholy vocals set Bonecrusher apart from the booted masses. The first pressing is on gorgeous swirled silver and black marbled vinyl, so now is the time to check this killer record out. The fans shall not be crushed. –Art Ettinger (Longshot)


BONELESS CHILDREN FOUNDATION, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Quirky college alt-rock. Club owners might find it a very useful tool when they want to clear the club out after a show. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.bonelesschildren.com)


BONNIE PARKERS, THE:
Sweaty Shirts & Bloody Fingers: CD
Primal Roman thud punk/rock that works surprisingly well. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.benicetomommy.com)


BOO FROG:
Self-titled: CD
Sounds like this emerged from the swamps of Baton Rouge, but this trio actually hails from Portland. Sparse, raw sound from this three-piece, since there is no bassist. But there’s still a decent depth here. I wouldn’t say The Cramps are my favorite band, but I bet these guys might. “Birthday Girl” actually reminds me of a Kinks song, so we are treading similar moving sidewalks at times. “Throw Me a Bone” sounds like a Velvet Underground outtake that John Cale forgot to bring his viola into the session. Intriguing material that I can see myself popping in again when the mood strikes me as I’m driving home late at night. –Sean Koepenick (Skullman)


BOO FROG:
Better Than the Rest: CD
Kind of like some Black Keys stuff. A little Tom Waits-y. Alt-indie-blues, with what I can only think to call “world music” elements (even though that’s basically a crock). One singer also reminds me of Will from Grabass, which I like. I was a little skeptical at first, but it picks up as it goes on, and gets a bit spacey/trippy. Not that bad. –Joe Evans III (Skullman, skullmanrecords.com)


BOO FROG:
Undead at Satyricon: Cassette
Portland, Oregon’s Boo Frog was apparently formed for a Lux Interior tribute show and found playing together so rewarding that they kept going. What you have here is a well-recorded live show at the now-closed Satyricon with said band plowing through a set of pretty inspired swampy songs in the vein of (not surprisingly) The Gun Club or The Cramps meets the Stooges. I am reminded of the Starvations as well, which isn’t a bad thing by any means. This must be a soundboard recording, as crowd noise is minimal. Good stuff. –Garrett Barnwell (Skullman, skullmanrecords.com)


BOOGDISH:
: 7”
So I reviewed this dude’s zine in Razorcake a while back, and it was a tour zine regarding his one-man band, Boogdish. I erroneously called said outfit “Moogdish” in the zine review. He later sent this record to ze ‘Cake, along with a letter requesting the staff to please get the name right this time. Okay, dude, here we go: the band’s name is Boogdish. The record is untitled. Said record is a three song, one-sided EP on clear vinyl with a pretty rad red silkscreen on the other side. Definitely looks neat, and the guy seemed pretty okay in his zine, so I wasn’t as initially trepidatious about a record like this (one guy, a bass and a programmed synth) as I normally would be. Unfortunately, this thing essentially came across as outtakes from the Faint’s Danse Macabre stitched together with songs from a Saturday morning cartoon, the whole thing ultimately ruined by the guy’s eye-wateringly bad falsettos in the first song and his homage to ‘50s slow-dance jams in the third. At least I got the name right this time. –Keith Rosson (Hairy Chested)


BOOK BURNERS, THE:
People’s Songs: 12”
After a few listens, I had to go online to find out if REM’s Michael Stipe or Lungfish’s Daniel Higgs made guest spots on this album. The evidence is inconclusive. It is not a bad thing, at all. I like both those bands and both those singers. I think The Book Burner’s debut album is good, but it came at me like that feeling when you pick up the wrong glass and, expecting milk, get the orange juice instead. It fucks with your brain. I put this album on and immediately wondered what year it was. The Book Burners sound like a mid-’90s band from a record company like WashingtonD.C.’s Dischord or Seattle’s Sub Pop Records. There are some unbelievable albums from those two labels in that time period. If you were wishing that they had released more, go get People’s Songs.  –John Mule (Latest Flame)


BOOK OF KNOTS:
Self-titled: CD
Very slow, very noisy, very arty and very obsessed with knots and seamanship. Okay, you kept my attention for three songs. –Jimmy Alvarado (Arclight)


BOOK OF MAPS:
II: CD
Disjointed art rock of the ilk that would probably get changed if it came on KXLU while I was driving. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.whoaboat.com)


BOOKOVEN:
The New Old Testament: 7”
Kind of like some hipster retelling of the Old Testament, with dark electronica as the background music. The note to the reviewer that was included claims that it’s an attempt to mock religion, but it sort of fails in that regard. Instead, this record is an innovative and playful modernization of the Old Testament. I like it, but not for the reasons that its creator intended for me to like it—rather than mockery, it shows that these mangy old Near Eastern myths might still make sense to us at some level if we package them in a modern idiom. Interesting. –The Lord Kveldulfr (bookoven@gmail.com)


BOOKS LIE:
It’s a Weapon: CD
Self-described "NYC DIY hardcore," although they don’t share all that "New Yawk Crew" wanky metal poo-poo. There’s only one "fast" song, and they occasionally dip their toes in the dreaded emo cesspool. But there’s an undeniable intensity and power in their approach that makes them veer more towards the "damn good" end of the spectrum than the "not even giving free blow jobs would make us sound better" end of things. I’m impressed and I wholly recommend this. –Jimmy Alvarado (Satellite Transmissions, PO Box 4432, Boulder, CO 80306)


BOOKS LIE:
Hall of Fame of Fire (Plus Singles and B-sides): CD
When I was in college several years ago, almost all the punks there were exclusively into grindcore, noise, thrash, emo, etc. What was a decent, harmony-loving punk who wasn’t given to public emotional breakdowns to do? Well, when in Rome… I ended up going to a fair amount of shows I would’ve never gone to otherwise, and one of those shows was Books Lie. I actually ended up seeing them a few times, and, out of all “those” bands, they were the only ones I actually thought were all right. This CD is both a new album and lots of singles and b-sides. Hardcore with some metal influence, definitely a Heartattack kind of thing! I’d be lying if I said I listen to it all the time, but the fact that I listen to it at all, given my musical tastes, must be worth something! If this were a cereal, it’d be Heartattack Ohs! Oh, subculture! –Maddy (Level-Plane)


BOOKS LIE:
Weep: CD
I’m assuming they’re supposed to be a hardcore band, but they sound more like a talentless emo band than anything else. A decade from now, when they’ve all sold out and got the corporate jobs that are their birthright, they can pull this outta the box in the back of the garage, show it to their kids, and tell them of a time when mommy and daddy were cool. Should work so long as they don’t ever play it for the little rugrats. –Jimmy Alvarado (coalition-rec@hotmail.com)


BOOKS ON TAPE:
The Business End: CD
This looked cool when I picked it up. Wacky song titles like “I Will Straight Get You Arrested” and “What Satan Said to Me,” and of course the album title is clever, too. Don’t get me wrong—I like the electronic music the kids are digging today just as much as the next guy. I was hoping this would be as good as Voyager One’s latest record—or better. Sadly, I was dead wrong. The keyboards sound like they were mixed using a 1982 Commodore 64. The songs—there’s just nothing here that grabs me. By my third go-round (and believe me, it took many Beck’s to make it through the third go-round, my friends), I was hoping that the girl on the back cover would jump out with that pocketknife she had and stab me so I would be rendered unconscious. Unfortunately that did not happen either. –Sean Koepenick (Greyday Productions)


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