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Record Reviews

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BADAMPS, THE:
Molotov Milkshake: CD
Peachfuzz punk so offensively inoffensive that they make that band that did that “Stacey’s mom’s got it going on” song seem like Slayer. This is almost like a candy-coated Chixdiggit, if Chixdiggit shaved their legs and lost their sense of humor. You will find no “Henry Rollins Is No Fun” type gems on this disc. This is the musical equivalent of Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip and thus, is not for me. Milkshake: yes. Molotov: hardly. –aphid (Black Market)


BADDAT FOR TRUBBEL:
Det Har Ar Inte New York: LP
I bought this record on a whim and a misunderstanding. I thought it was a reissue of a late ‘70s/early ‘80s Swedish punk band, but it is actually a reissue of a modern Swedish band that goes for that Killed By Death, late ‘70s/early ‘80s sound. Twenty songs (fifteen from the original album and five from an EP) in way less than a half hour. The mix is pretty murky, most notably being that the bass doesn’t really make itself known until the last five songs (the aforementioned EP). Perhaps a little too much low end in the guitars? There is minimal-to-no guitar chicanery and some weird yakkety sax on “Sant Ar Livet.” The liners have English translation of the Swedish lyrics and chords for those so inspired to play along at home. –Sal Lucci (1-2-3-4 Go!)


BADDAT FOR TRUBBEL:
Det Här Ar Inte New York: LP
A mix of garage, punk, some early Sixties…This is okay over all. There’s not a whole here that really gets your attention, outside of the really good “Sån är livet” with its saxophone. It’s as though all the songs on here are leading up to that one moment where they have this one really good song. After that, these songs are just kind of there and lack any real fire. Very tame and sterile. After a few listens, I’m still “ehhhh.” –Matt Average (1-2-3-4 Go!, 1234gorecords.com)


BADLANDS:
When Angels Are Crucified: CD
Upon checking this disc out, I was gearing up for some dark and scary metal type stuff. With the calligraphy style of text and artwork depicting devils crucifying an angel, you can hardly blame me. Well you could just color me shocked to hear the opening track serve up some hard-driving melodic goodness that, when coupled with that gruff vocal, can’t help but conjure up images of Leatherface. This is both good and bad. Good in the fact that there aren’t nearly enough bands like Leatherface out there, bad because it is almost impossible to measure up. Badlands has their hearts in the right place, but I find myself getting bored a few songs in. –Ty Stranglehold (Rebellion, www.rebellionrecords.nl)


BADLANDS:
So Little: Cassette
I didn’t know what to expect from this set of songs; whether it would be acoustic or punk. Adrian Tenney is capable of both screaming the house down while she tears it apart with her drumsticks and soothing it to sleep while she croons over her ukulele. The sounds that came out of my headphones when I pressed play made such trivial concerns just float away. This tape is the most I’ve enjoyed an album in a good while. I really like the way it’s recorded—all these wild instruments I can’t even pronounce sound really great both through an ‘80s boombox and a fancy work computer. The music is really interesting and her lyrics, as usual, are so simple yet thought provoking. –Rene Navarro (Ghostbot, ghostbotrecords.com)


BADLANDS:
So Little: Cassette
Listen: Imagine yourself lying on a plateau somewhere in the Arizona high desert. You’re alone. The sun is setting in such way that the sky is hued in purples and oranges, like a Moroccan tapestry. If you need a soundtrack to this picture-perfect moment, let it be Badlands’ So Little. Badlands is Adrian Tenney of Spokenest and God Equals Genocide playing an assortment of instruments such as ukulele, Balinese gongs, and piano. Yet, the greatest instrument is Tenney’s voice which she layers with melodic harmonies and otherworldly coos, a languorous quality reminiscent of Mirah and Your Heart Breaks. Tenney’s vocals drip out of the speakers making each song hauntingly dreamlike—ephemeral and succinct—with upbeat pace changes that plunge into subtle variations. Thankfully, Badlands never deviates towards exhausting musical interludes plagued by muddy reverb or indulgent experimentation. Instead, Tenney gracefully sings and strums her nylon guitar allowing the sounds to peacefully exhale. –Sean Arenas (Ghostbot, info@ghostbotrecords.com)


BADLANDS:
Alexandrian Age: CD
This Dutch outfit has been active since 2000. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that they didn’t do a Yahoo search back then before picking a band name. There was a band with this same moniker in the ‘90s. These dudes are not the only ones. I see there is a new band with the same name reviewed in the last issue of this magazine, too. Bands, do your homework! But I digress. This band compares themselves to Social D and The Templars. I’m not a big fan of either of those bands. A couple songs here have some hooks. But there is also some extreme guitar solo noodling sprinkled in that made me hold my nose; too much to overcome.  –Sean Koepenick (Rebellion)


BADNADS, THE:
Japanese Bloodbath: 7”
Brutus-style hardcore with a thick, reddish neck and a fetish for old school wrasslin heels like Bruiser Brody and Abdullah the Butcher. Basic no-frills ECW-core that fans of the Bump N’ Uglies and/or Antiseen might enjoy, though I think both those bands do a better job of it. And while I’m on the subject, why is it that all these wrasslin bands kiss the boots of all the same wrestlers? Sure Mick Foley was great back in his hardcore heyday, but I’d like to see some bands lionize some of the more thickly body-haired kookballs like George the Animal Steele and Mad Dog Vachon. Just to spice things up a bit. –aphid (Scarey)


BAFABEGIYA:
Those Who Die Dancing: 7”
Rebellious, rambunctious hardcore with rebellious, rambunctious lyrics. Songs are put together well, and I bet these guys smoke live. –Jimmy Alvarado (Spacement)


BAFABEGIYA/ARABELLA:
Split: 7"
Bafabegiya: A hardcore band that ain’t particularly fast, but they manage to find a groove and exploit it for what it’s worth. Arabella: An arty hardcore contrast to the flip, not as immediately accessible, but not without its own charms, either. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.spacementreno.com)


BAG OF GREMLINS:
Welcome to Earth: 7” EP
Ridiculously fast hardcore delivered with enough stops, tempo shifts, and surgical precision to keep you on your toes. Definitely not for the faint of heart. –Jimmy Alvarado (Speaks Volumes, speaksvolumesrecords.com)


BAG: THEORY:
Tap Dancing in a Mine Field: CD-R
Remember that band that your aging “I used to be a punk rocker, then I grew up” co-worker plays in? You know, the one he keeps bugging you to “come check out” even when you politely decline his offer of free tickets. Bag: Theory is that band and they’re the prog-jazz-freeform-avant-garde clusterfuck that you cringingly envisioned. These sorts of bands are the reason noise cancelling headphones were invented.  –Juan Espinosa (Homeless Publishing, paperbagtheory.com)


BAGS:
Survive: 7"
There were a handful of records I chanced upon when I was a kid, just getting into punk rock, that really struck a chord with me. Looking back, I was incredibly lucky with the records that just happened to be in the used bin of an independent record store in Vegas. Looking back, I was exposed to a tremendously mixed bag of punk and hardcore—from different scenes and different eras—stuff like the Necros, JFA, and the Bags, all in one trip. Gladly, listening to this 7” again years later (see the Alice interview in this issue as to why) neither song sounds dated. Commanding, snarling, and desperate female vocals, expert but not “pro” musicianship, an unquestionable angst and comet-like burning make it as great as ever. Word is that this re-issue is directly from the original 1978 Dangerhouse plates. Sounds awesome. An irreplaceable slice LA punk rock that’s neck and neck with the best that was ever released. –Todd Taylor (Artifix)


BAGS:
All Bagged Up: LP
My very own, totally true, Bags-related story: A girlfriend of mine scored a job at a one-hour photo joint in the Fairfax district sometime in 1988 or so. At the time, I had two full-time bands going, and I acted as a sorta substitute member when she was unable to make a gig to sing, or the guitar player was M.I.A. Anyway, one day, Bags guitarist Craig Lee walks into her place of work. Knowing I was a big fan of the Bags, she calls me up to tell me he’d be back in about an hour and did I want her to tell him anything. One of the bands (probably hers) was trying to learn “We Don’t Need the English” for the set, but were having problems trying to understand Alice after the second time she said “Fuck them, send them all to...” so I asked her to ask him for the lyrics. She later shows up at my house after work with the all the lyrics for said song written out by Mr. Lee on a tiny Post-It, except the one line we were having trouble deciphering. Listening to this album—which includes “We Don’t need the English,” plus all the other Dangerhouse cuts, the live tracks from Flipside’s Live from the Masque CD, and assorted other live and demo cuts, most of which are heretofore unreleased—brought back that memory some nineteen years later and made me laugh all over again, not to mention rock the fuck out to a band that has been a consistent favorite for almost as long as I’ve been a punk. Standing as the more or less definitive statement on this band, the sound quality is downright amazing considering we’re talking non-board live recordings and rehearsal and demo tapes for a lot of the stuff here. Herr Artifix has again succeeded in dusting off a band long relegated to the back ends of the history books and reminded the world of what a truly wondrous thing the Bags were during their short lifespan. Oh, and the mysterious line? “Fuck them, send them all to Canterbury.” Figured it out all by myself a few years ago, so wherever you are, Craig, allow me to offer up a sincere, “ptlhbbt!” –Jimmy Alvarado (Artifix)


BAIL OUT!:
Another One Bites the Dust: CD
Should I pretend to know a lot about hardcore to write this review? No! I shall not! Bail Out is from D.C., and their website says they’re breaking up so one of the members can enroll in the Peace Corps. But Maddy, you protest, I could Google that shit if I cared. You’re the reviewer! Review goddamnit! So, Bail Out play, um, fast! Their best line? “Water Balloon Attack! You’re fucking dead!” Punk rock! If this were a cereal, it’d be something I almost never eat, like S'mores cereal. I couldn’t even tell you what it tastes like, that’s how dumb I am! –Maddy (Rosewater)


BAILER:
This Took Too Long: CD-EP
This took too long to get to the end. –Jimmy Alvarado (Not Bad)


BAISEBALL:
Hot Stuff: 7" EP
I have no idea what the hell this French squad’s band name is all about—like, are they talking about one of the testicles of the bass player from the Devil Dogs?—and i don’t understand their English lyrics substantially better than when they’re singing en Français—but this band is spring-wound and tight and on their shit, and that’s largely all the lingua franca a sage consumer needs, ain’t it? Tuneful, rockin’ punk shit which gets extra points from me because their Eddie & The Hot Rods cover isn’t the best song on the record. I also think the skull and crossbones on the front cover is actually pretty cool; when’s the last time you heard me say that? I guess adding the sunglasses and the brain helped. Eat shit, Napoleon! Baiseball are storming your Bastille! BEST SONG: “Hot Stuff” BEST SONG TITLE: “We Are The Fame.” Hey, it’s original! FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: I think this is the only record i own that’s got a guy wearing a Buzzcocks t-shirt depicted on the label. –Rev. Norb (Stress)


BAKER STREET IRREGULARS, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Dear Robert Daniel of Savannah, Georgia: I really like the first part of this CD. To me, it sounds like a lower-fi, Southern version of Replacements. The problem, though, is that about halfway through, the CD player starts freaking out and skipping, and I can’t even make it to your version of “Mama Tried.” I realize that it’s just a technological problem and it’s nobody’s fault, but hopefully we can find a way to blame Bradley Williams for whatever went wrong. And I was also wondering if your pseudonym was an Andy Griffith Show reference or just a coincidence. Thanks for listening. –Josh (Official UDC Headquarters)


BAKESYS, THE:
Return to the Planet of the Bakesys!: CD
I’m pretty open to all genres of music but, admittedly, whenever I have some ska come my way, I can’t help but think “Why?” Fortunately, this is more two tone similar to The Specials than “crazy ska punk,” so it’s not unbearable. Unfortunately, it’s a lot mellower and less energetic than The Specials, which is one of the reasons I like that band in the first place. And even though it’s a live record, there’s hardly any crowd noise in between songs! It’s still good if you’re that into ska in 2010, though. –Joe Evans III (Do The Dog)


BALAAM & THE ANGEL:
The Greatest Story Ever Told: CD, Live Free or Die: CD:
To my mind, there are two very distinct strains running through the east U.K. death rock/goth stuff: the edgy, arty, obsessed with the darker side of life stuff and the simpy, slick, quasi-pretty boy/girl gloom pop that pretty much ended up diluting and fucking up the former. Rare it was when a band falling in the latter camp was worth a piss and these guys are not an exception to that rule. On Greatest Story, they milk dry the gray area between The Mission and mid-period Cult, managing to sand down whatever edge those templates had in the first place. The band, who deftly execute songs that are at least well written but not in the least threatening, are hampered with a singer who has neither the range or the singular quality of an Astbury, or even a Hussey. Their attempts to follow the Cult’s lead into hard rock land, as chronicled on Live Free or Die, are not much of an improvement, either. Rumor is they’re back together. I wish ’em luck. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.cherryred.co.uk)


BALACLAVA:
Shame: 7”
I don’t spend too much time, err, really any time at all listening to crust or d-beat. I mean, my favorite Dis-band is Discount. Thus I can’t really say if this going to float the average crusty’s boat or how it compares to genre-mates. Personally, I think it’s okay, but, as I said, I don’t really have a good basis for comparison. –Vincent Battilana (Forcefield)


BALANCE AND COMPOSURE:
Only Boundaries: 12” EP
Four songs of beefy emo rock, like prime Cursive, or the stuff that Revelation was releasing fifteen years ago. The musicianship is tight and the recording packs a punch and a crunch. The problem is, that while the music takes its cues from the highpoints of this much-maligned genre, the vocals are lifted wholesale from the radio emo of the last five years. The lead singer is whiney, and some dipstick screams in the background every now and then. Making matters worse, the vocals are super loud in the mix. It’s a shame, because the music shows a lot of promise; it’s just sunk by what Mr. Burns on The Simpsons would describe as “off-key caterwauling.” –CT Terry (No Sleep, nosleeprecs.com)


BALANCE AND COMPOSURE / TIGERS JAW:
Split: CD
I don’t know how anybody can really be into music that either band makes. Balance And Composure sound like they are trying to write songs that will have mass alternative radio appeal. Just pure crap. Tigers Jaw is lucky that BAC is the other band on this split, because, comparatively, TJ is genius. While I don’t care for Tigers Jaw’s brand of Vagrant Records-styled stuff, they sound like they actually play what they want to. Plus, TJ keeps their songs close to the bearable three-minute mark; BAC’s tracks seemed endless. Not cool. –Vincent Battilana (No Sleep, nosleeprecs.com / Run For Cover, runforcoverrecords.com)


BALANCE OF TERROR/ STRAIGHT TO HELL:
Split: 7"
There’s something cleansing about no-bullshit, full-speed-ahead hardcore. It’s sort of like sandpaper. You feel like you can rub it against anything – politics, dogmatism, bad jobs, being penniless, and marginalized – and by its abrasive friction, it makes things shinier. Hitting darkness with its own form of rough force. Now that Victory Records is courting boy bands, it’s high time that hardcore get reclaimed by bands like these, who take cues from Negative Approach, From Ashes Rise, and Deaththreat. I like Balance of Terror a tad more. They’ve already broke up, and it’s a shame. I always wonder at bands who go so fast but can weave in different ways and actually hook a melody deep inside the fast-moving blades, dropping cues on how the genre can redevelop itself instead of merely repeating. –Todd Taylor (Partners In Crime)


BALLANTYNES, THE:
“The Message” b/w “The Railtown Abbey”: 7”
This single seems to be going for a funkier, Northern Soul-type sound. There are male and female vocals that go well together. The performances are A-OK, but there is such a thick layer of reverb over the whole thing there is not much attack. Do I hear keyboard and xylophone? I like what I think is going on, but I can’t fully make it out. “The Railtown Abbey” comes across as having a lot of energy that just can’t seem to bust out of the mire of a murky recording. It’s a good song. I would take a guess that the band sounds better live. –Billups Allen (La-Ti-Da, latidarecords.com)


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