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Record Reviews

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Buyin' the Farm: 7"EP
Hey, I like Motorhead and Spinal Tap, too. I'm just not rushing to listen to a band that mixes the two. (Except there's a girl doing some backup.) I don't think they're joking, which makes it sadder. –Todd Taylor (Bad Reputation. It's always a fine idea to write addresses on the packaging somewhere.)

Self-titled: CD
Can’t say I remember much about what Selby Tigers sounded like, but this band includes a member. The sound is sorta mid-fi garage rock with a tiny smidge of maybe rockabilly and a lotta flamenco-steeped surf guitar. The result is simultaneously toe-tappin’ and laid back, giving off a good vibe, smarter and markedly more sophisticated than much of the stuff it’ll likely get lumped in with. –Jimmy Alvarado (The Bombay Sweets, thebombaysweets.blogspot.com)

Self-titled: CD
Sweet, surfy, deceptively simple melodies wrapped in the warm echoes of reverb. The rockabilly undertones and volcanic buildup add drama and mystery into an already deeply layered atmosphere. It makes me wanna dance and brood in the corner with a cigarette at the same time. I don’t even smoke. If I were some sort of dictator, I’d demand everyone download the free demo posted on the band’s website or suffer severe consequences. But hey, it’s your life. If you choose to live it without this beautiful, moody music, I can only be sad for you. –Candice Tobin (Phantom Form)

Mourning: 7” EP
My first impression was that they sound like a cleaned up Groinoids, but there seems to be a little more going on here. The tunes are decidedly in the hardcore vein, but don’t ever get ramped up more than mid-tempo, and the tunes have the same stream of consciousness feel of early Urinals but without the artsy-fartsy pretense, in that the tunes only last as long as the singer has lyrics to garble. I’m not sure how well they’d manage to pull off a full-length, but this was good enough that I’m definitely curious to find out. –Jimmy Alvarado (On-High, no address)

El Party Con Bombón: Cassette
Apart from sheer nostalgia for people of a certain age ((and perhaps consideration for those of us who still drive motor vehicles manufactured after 1980 but prior to 2003)), there really are no abiding reasons why anyone should ever release anything on cassette again, ever. Cassettes were a fucking DUMB format. Their fidelity decreased every time you played them, they got dusty and warbly and fucked up, they got twisted and kinked and snapped, tape transport from song to song was a time-consuming and aggravating pain in the ass, and every now and again your cassette deck would just randomly eat a tape, sort of like Charlie Brown’s kite-eating tree, but less epic. About the best thing i could say for pre-recorded cassettes ((as opposed to mix tapes, which still remain the gold standard for such things)) is that if you didn’t like what was on there, you could tape over it. That said, Bombón are a pretty cool, bargain-basement, instrumental ((with occasional female Beatnik Termite-like “whaa-ooh” backing vocals and/or screams)) combo who have dispensed with such restrictive social detritus such as track listings, presumably because such Tools Of Order interfere with their prime directive of PARTY. The general vibe is reverby—but not annoyingly so—and the bass occasionally acts as a second guitar, allowing the guitar guitar to vacillate back ‘n’ forth between almost ((but not really)) Fall-Outs-like chord chomping to Cramps-like single-string twangling. I state unequivocally that this is the best cassette i’ve heard all month! Now knock it off. BEST SONG: The one where it sounds like the girls in the background are saying “Homos on the fire, wha-oh-oh, homos on the fire, wha-oh-oh” BEST SONG TITLE: Bombón are not part of your machine and reject your restrictive taxonomies accordingly! FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Never mind, i found some song titles printed on the cassette shell. I guess my favorite song is “La Playa,” then. –Rev. Norb (Burger/45 RPM)

Las Chicas Del…: LP
It’s a bit of a shortcut to say “Surf rock done by three ladies,” but it gets us to our destination quicker. It’s a shortcut to say “surf” because there’s some really nice horn work that lends to a fantastic spaghetti western vibe on a track. It seems like there’s something pretty major going right beneath the waves besides tons of reverb, an organ, and an affection for The Ventures and the 5,6,7,8’s. Since it’s been over a decade since we were last awash in any sort of surf revival tidal wave, I’d throw mid-period Man… Or Astroman? into the mix of comparisons. Bombon aren’t afraid to add space, landscape, soundscape, and breadth to their songs. Las Chicas… is pleasant as all hell and a good record to put on when you still want to talk and not yell, but still have a great time, set a mood, and hang out with a bunch of folks. Movie soundtracks of the future, watch out. –Todd Taylor (45 RPM)

Stole the TV: CDEP
Decent pop punk (with two girl singers! Hooray!) from Southern California, but perhaps too far into the Fat Wreck Chords sphere of influence for my tastes. But if you prefer your pop punk well produced and with a touch of NOFX (as opposed to, say, a sprinkling of Sweet Baby), this is the band for you! –Maddy (Red Scare, redscare.net)

From Dumpsters Rise!: CD
Is this a parody CD? Sadly, I fear it is all too real. If punks keep writing lame songs about eating out of dumpsters, I’m going to have to start a band and write songs about eating food from a grocery store! What ever happened to writing songs about hanging out at Burger King (see: Ramones, Queers, et.al)? This is crappy Crimethinc-influenced folk punk. I wonder if This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb (a great band) ever sit back and think, “What evil force have we unreleased in the world?” If this were a cereal, it’d be Total Punk Anarchy Hobo Ohs. Yikes. –Maddy (Self-released)

Black Butterfly: CD
While I fully believe that the idea of rock’n’roll should never be confined to simply one form (How fucking dull would that be?), I subscribe to the notion that scuzzy, distortion-heavy garage is the most unfiltered form you can find under its umbrella. L.A. two-piece The Bombs attempt to rile things up with this primitive and grimy throwback but the attempt feels more defanged than nervy. Bearing some resemblances to another garage punk band with a similar moniker (the winning guess would be The Dirtbombs), the energetic duo should take creative cues from the Detroit troupe’s coursing vocals, contorted verve, and confrontational volume levels. Keep this effort’s off-kilter lyrics (which include a chorus leading in with “I’m not from Nova Scotia”), consider ditching the Ramones-esque repetitive titles (both “Shake Me” and “The Shakes” are here), and let the rock fester and mutate before picking it back up. –Reyan Ali (Self-released, myspace.com/thebombsmusic)

The Conclusion: CD
These Swedes have been blasting their brand of Rancid-y streetpunk stuff for many years now and I’ve always considered them to be amongst the best at it. I’m happy to report that some things don’t change. Lots of soaring guitars and “Hey, Hey, Hey” action. It’s cool to see a lot of these types of bands finding a home on a label that seems to be suited to them perfectly. –Ty Stranglehold (Sailor’s Grave)

Love for the Microphone: CDEP
An acoustic song is no way to start off what otherwise is a pretty damn good little CD. Bombshell Rocks has been around since about '96 and have consistently put out quality records. They never disappoint. It's just if you are going to put out only six songs, why waste one track by making it acoustic, let alone starting the CD off with it? Skip track one and you have an EP to listen to over and over again. –Toby Tober (Combat Rock)

Cityrats and Alleycats: CD
You ever have to go to a wedding or something and have to wear a suit and the closest thing to dress shoes you have are Docs? It’s happened to me a couple of times. I polish up my Docs and put on my suit and look down at my feet and it’s weird. The shoes look good. Almost new even though I’ve been wearing them for years. And they’re cool shoes. No doubt about that. So maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just so used to being scuffed and worn that polishing anything bothers me. Anyway, that’s how I feel about the Bombshell Rocks—they’re like polished Docs. Musically, they’re immaculate. The songs are well textured, everyone is perfectly in beat, the singer is in key and has just the right amount of gruff in his voice—like an early Mike Ness—and they have a perfect blend of influences. I hear a little Cocksparrer (from when they were good), a little Business (see Cocksparrer), a little Social Distortion, and a lot of Stiff Little Fingers. All great bands. And I’m not saying this album is contrived. Not at all. I like it a lot. It’s just like polished Docs, if that makes any sense. –Sean Carswell (Burning Heart Records)

Self-titled: CD
Decent enough Hostage-style punk rock with a perpetually off-key singer. Not stunning, not agonizing. –Jimmy Alvarado (No Front Teeth)

Self-titled: CD
What better way to start a Saturday morning than with some punk rock record reviewin’ and tending to some personal hygiene? Kill two birds with one stone, or Bombshell, if you will. The first verse of “She’s Coming” sounds so much like the Problematics “Here We Come” that I started singing “And it happens all the ti-i-i-ime…” when it came time for the chorus while listening to this in the shower. I shampooed my hair and washed my face to “I Want You Mine” and “Oh Yeah,” working my way down to the armpits, crotch, and thighs without taking too much notice of the music: catchy, poppy, punky, in the same vein as Sloppy Seconds (from whom they ripped off a number of guitar leads) and Forgotten Rebels (from whom they pilfered the slowed-down, heartfelt intro to “I Want You Mine” and nose-plugged-full-of-snot vocal delivery), sans the inspired song writing and stunted, juvenile senses of humor that made those bands great. I began cleansing my anus as “One Track Mind” cued up. Not bad. Certainly my favorite song on the CD. The cruel twist is that my affinity for the song and proximity of hand-to-rectum have been intertwined, creating a bizarre, Pavlovian response whereupon hearing it, I’m filled with a desperate urge to cram a few fingers into my asshole. Son of a bitch, I’m never showering with these guys again. And, fellas, if yer gonna call yerselves the Bombshells, the least ya could do is put a smokin’ hot babe on the cover. That Miguel Hell ain’t so easy on the eyes. –Josh Benke (No Front Teeth)

Audio Wasteland: CD
Fun, fun, fun. Thirteen songs of snotty rock‘n’roll about drinking, fighting, and getting the stripper to go home with you and it never gets dull. I always find it thrilling when a band can create a familiar, raw, and uninhibited sound but still come off as sounding original. The Bombshells have done just that. In a lot of ways it sounds reminiscent of the Gotohells’ Burning Bridges record, but Audio Wasteland is miles beyond that relative dud. This could be the soundtrack for a Saturday night beerfest: insurgent and rebellious if only for its own sake with an uncontrolled, rollicking sound. –Guest Contributor (Bombshells Music)

Self-titled: CD
Oh my god, so punk rock that one wears his belt—get this—sideways! I know, unbelievable. Then I put this on and they sing about doing dirty things with sluts. And fights in bathrooms. Of course, one wears stripes too. I read a review that said that this is a must-have if you live in Silverlake (the over-priced, hipster-haven of LA) I can’t agree more. –Megan Pants (Bombshells)

Self-titled: CD
Overproduced rock and roll by people who clearly like Johnny Thunders. Sneered lyrics, affected boredom, striped shirts and studded belts. You get the idea. This is Los Angeles O’s because I’m guessing they are from there, and, you know, it just makes sense, The Germs notwithstanding. –Maddy (self-released?)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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