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My Dad Went to See Some Weird Music and... by Mike Faloon
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Record Reviews

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BOYS, THE:
The Punk Rock Anthology: 2 x CD
The Boys were one o’ the more obscure (at least in the U.S.) bands to come out of the first waves of the English punk thing. This has always struck me as odd because, while not as incendiary as some of their contemporaries, they penned some barn burners in their time that also happened to be wicked catchy to boot. What the Ramones did with the template provided by the Beach Boys and the Stooges, the Boys did with the one provided by the Beatles and Spector, delivering tunes that melded razor-sharp pop hooks to punk bluster and breakneck tempos. A huge chunk of those tunes—“First Time,” “Brickfield Nights,” “Sick on You” (quite possibly the catchiest song ever to reference both a relationship gone sour and vomiting), “Classified Susie,” “Jimmy Brown,” and “Tenement Kids,” to name a few—can be found crammed onto the two discs here, along with assorted demos, single tracks and versions, resulting in a mighty fine primer for those unfamiliar with the band. The tunes are mapped out, more or less, in chronological order, which allows the listener the chance to hear how, over time, the band sacrificed the manic tempos for a more power pop approach, a sound that, at first blush, seems like the primary influence for more recent bands like the Exploding Hearts. In the end, the worst case scenario for any potential listener is forty-seven tracks from one of punk’s unsung greats. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.cherryred.co.uk)


BOYSKOUT:
School of Etiquette: CD
Barely legal girls kiss their way through standard bubblegum emo. Accomplished, boring, better than angry young guys doing it.  –Speedway Randy (Alive)


BP FALLON:
Live in Texas: CD
BP Fallon is an Irish storyteller and author with a varied and expansive career behind him, having worked with many legends of the rock music industry in various difference capacities since the ‘70s. With this release, he leads a band, putting the focus on his rambling stories placed over the top of mostly acoustic guitar. It’s pleasant in the kind of way that I bet my parents would like it.  –Mark Twistworthy (Saustex, saustex.com)


BPA:
Maybe Use My Knife (1980-1986): CD
Who knew that there was another art damaged weirdo band from Ohio in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s? Not me, but I’m sure glad I’ve been enlightened to the ways of BPA. This is a compilation of their output through the first half of the ‘80s and I’ve got to say that it stands up to any of the similar stuff from the era. I can hear a little bit of everything. A bit of Devo, a lot of early Butthole Surfers… Talking Heads melded with Big Boys… I absolutely LOVE this! The thought of jocks cringing at this makes me smile. The liner notes do a great job of outlining the history of the band and report that they still play to this day from time to time. The (hopefully true) story about a drugged-up Madonna partying all night and refusing to listen to anything but BPA was also great. Track this down now. –Ty Stranglehold (Shake It)


BRACES, THE:
Ska Got Soul: CD
I thought this was a decent ska album for a full thirty seconds. Then the vocals came in. Then I heard the lyrics about his favorite designer clothing. Then I threw it away. –Megan Pants (KOB)


BRACKET:
Requiem: CD
I have to confess that this record is one of the most novel concepts that I’ve seen in a while. No real titles to the songs here; instead we have “Warren’s Song Pt. 16, Pt. 19, 14, 24, 11, 23, 17, 26, 18, 12, 21, 20, 10, 25, 15, 22, and 13.” As a result, there is a distinct lack of independence to these songs; on a normal record with songs individually titled, each tune maintains a level of musical autonomy within the overall package, like a short story as part of an anthology. By giving every song the same title, just variations in numbering, I was forced to listen to this as a whole rather than individual tunes specifically ordered on a record. And it worked. What we have here is a seventeen-movement rock’n’roll symphony. Musically, this is some pretty rockin’ pop punk along the lines of bands that show up on Honest Don’s; poppy and inventive, this opus never got dull. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Takeover)


BRACKETS, LOS:
Bracketsmania: CD
Sounds like corporate mall rock. Is it corporate mall rock? Unclear. It’s also in Spanish. Sadly, I wish I liked this because they have a really ridiculous photo of a big metal case that holds each band member’s Buddy Holly-esque glasses, presumably for touring purposes. If this were a cereal, it’d be Total. Who buys Total? Unclear. –Maddy (SP)


BRADDOCK:
All That Is Man: LP
At first listen, it’s understandable that someone might just hear another attempt at post-hardcore. With a little patience, however, it becomes obvious that these four dudes infuse their own voice as a band into the popular style that is home to Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike. Equal parts self-deprecation and “fuck you”s, the lyrics keep a fairly somber mood but there are plenty of breakdowns and catchy harmonies to keep everyone happy. The recording quality is just right, too—it’s crisp and clean but just raw enough to remind us that these guys really mean it. I recommend taking it for several spins.  –Nicole Madden (Encapsulated, encapsulatedrecords.limitedrun.com)


BRADLEO ADMINISTRATION, THE:
Happy, Lucky, and Going Places: 7”
The Bradleo (yes, one word) Administration is (I guess) a solo vehicle for a guy named Brad Leo— not to be confused with balding front man Ted Leo. The A side of Brad Leo’s single is influenced by that power-pop stuff Alex Chilton didn’t make a career out of; the same music Bobby Stinson played and now (seeing as he’s dead) doesn’t. The B side reminds me of Peter Laughner’s home recordings (although Peter Laughner doesn’t make home recordings anymore because he’s dead, too. Had Peter not indulged in a case of Grolsch a day, coupled with lumps of methamphetamines, he’d currently be fifty-four years old). So, yeah, this is all great. You see the keywords (Laughner, Chilton, etc.) and you’re all set to buy this record. Just hold on, chief. I can tell that Leo (as in Brad) likes good music, but it’s hard to produce it. My girlfriend says this record is a three out of ten. I told her that if I played Peter Laughner’s home recordings for her, she’d give them a two out of ten. So, anyway, elitism aside, this record is a five out of ten. This group (or Brad Leo) shows promise, but they’ve got some work cut out for them. Maybe a strict diet of Thomas Wolfe and Jack Kerouac could get them up to speed. I’m not sure—I’m neither Lamont Dozier nor the Colonel Tom Parker, just a cantankerous rock critic and bass player. –Ryan Leach (Floridas Dying, floridasdying.com)


BRADLEY DEAN AND THE TERMINALS:
“Top of the Hour” b/w “Graveyard”: 7”
What I often find most exasperating about the modern cookie-cutter mentality of the monolithic music machine—and the clueless fops who’ll take any dish o’ crap served up—is the actual creative process and it accompanying tendency toward risk-taking has been almost completely excised from the equation. It’s what makes the first waves of any new musical idea/movement/genre magical and its absence is what makes what follows, well, cookie-cutter. These cats remember that creative process well. At their core, they’re a pop band but they’re not afraid to make more than the minimal button-punching effort employed in modern tunesmithing, and even mix disparate things, like country twang to the title track and some swing to the flip, to give that core a bit more complexity in flavor. Both songs here would’ve easily garnered them a rotation slot on forward-thinking radio stations and a contract on Slash’s roster some twenty-five years ago, before the whole indie/alternative thing turned into corporate-owned, vanilla-colored shit. This is a great goddamned single and here’s hoping that some DJ finally gets tired of playing the hundredth song in a row that sounds like its ninety-nine predecessors, says “fuck it,” and drops the needle on the wax. –Jimmy Alvarado (bradleydean.com)


BRADY BASTARDS:
The Deep End: CD
I have a good friend named Sean Brady. He has about fifteen nicknames for me. He and his twin brother tend to address people as madam, as in “I apologize madam; it’s about to get awesome in here.” To a bartender at nine in the morning. And they live in a house called the Fat Cave, which is a very happy place for me to visit. Neither he, nor his two brothers are, to my knowledge, born out of wedlock. Which is fortunate, because I really like my friend Sean, and I really don’t like this band. –Megan Pants (www.bradybastards.com)


BRAGGING LADS, THE:
Half Empty: CD
Like Pogues-inspired punk, which is what I was expecting from the band’s name, the whole U.K.-via-OC punk thing is a very dicey prospect—move too far in one direction, you’re in meathead territory; move too far in the other, and you’re in bad glammy rock territory; tilt this way you’re neck deep in bonehead modern oi; tilt that way and you’re trolling around in the depths of the worst of the Social Distortion clones. These guys are quite the dancers, though, pirouetting through the much and balancing all the best bits—anthemic and catchy songwriting, non-wanky guitar leads up the wazoo, a singer that can growl ‘n’ howl in tune, and the wisdom not to take themselves too seriously—to come up with a full-length that puts ‘em in fine company along Mad Parade, Black Jax, and Channel 3, among others. Though the mix is a bit bass-heavy, they’ve got themselves quite the release here, and though it’s making for some mighty fine tuneage in cold-ass mid-February, it’s really gonna hit the spot come July when the windows are down and the volume is up full. –Jimmy Alvarado –Jimmy Alvarado (Collision Course)


BRAHMAN:
A Forlorn Hope: CD
Hmm. This is on Revelation and looks like it might be stoner rock or something. Put the CD on. Huh? Is this the right disk? It's kinda emo-y and poppy, but weirder. What's going on? Look at the liner notes, they kinda look like preps, playing in a big arena… OH, WAIT!! I get it now, they're Japanese. Suddenly, I look at this record from a different perspective, and I like it. It's a little more polished than the Japanese punk I'm used to, but it's still good. It gets me to thinking, though. Do I only like it because it's Japanese? If they were Americans, I'd hate this and make fun of it. Is it right for me to let the lame shit slide just because of where they're from? I don't know how I feel about this record. –ben (Revelation)


BRAILLE DRIVERS:
White Dwarfs and Red Giants: CD
Monstrous pop hooks, nice song structures and LOUD guitars from this power-punk outfit make this worth the green. Judging by the band and album name, I expected this to be either math rock, art damage or some combination thereof, so I’m pretty stoked. Recommended. –Jimmy Alvarado (Molecular Laboratories, PO Box 791, Frederick, MD 21705)


BRAIN BANGER:
Munsoned: CD
Churning, grinding guitars, relatively restrained vocals, mostly slow to mid-tempo rhythms, and an overall sound that falls somewhere between fringier metal, alt-rock, and punk. –Jimmy Alvarado (no address listed)


BRAIN CAR:
Rock & Roll Bologna: 7” EP
Snotty punk ranting and railing against suburbia, Baghdad, spiders, and conforming to rules. They’ve got a definite ‘80s feel to ‘em, and they can generate some interesting tuneage to match the obnoxiousness quite nicely. Good stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (Reel Time)


BRAIN DEAD / ROT IN HELL:
Millennial Psychosis: Split 7” EP
Brain Dead: Grindy, crusty hardcore concerned with pro-lifers and the end of the world. Rot In Hell: More gloom’n’doom, this time with a metallic hardcore soundtrack. –Jimmy Alvarado (Vinyl Addict)


BRAIN DRAIN:
Demo 2009: CD-R
What you got here is fairly standard hardcore recorded on the cheap, but clear enough to make out what’s going on. The members sound like they gel well together, though, and I hear some flashes of serious potential, especially during the slower bits where they start messing with time signatures and such. Dunno how long they’ve been together, but it sounds like they’re still ironing out what their personal take on hardcore is ultimately gonna sound like, which ain’t a bad thing at all. My suggestion would be to bypass the standard go-to old school bands and instead wallow in the influence of early Die Kreuzen (the Cows and Beer EP is a great place to start), Scratch Acid, Filth-era Swans, and United Mutation if you really wanna come up with something that’ll fuck with people’s heads. –Jimmy Alvarado (braindrainwi@gmail.com)


BRAIN F:
Restraining Order: 7”
Debut EP from a dual vocal, both male and female, clean guitar, garage-style punk band from Charlotte, NC. They immediately bring to mind the musical stylings of both the Shitty Limits and perhaps even the less spastic moments of Career Suicide. The optimist in me is truly into this record and appreciates it at face value. The pessimist thinks they can do much better. A new EP on the great Grave Mistake label is in the works as I write this, so it’s possible I may soon get my wish. –Juan Espinosa (Static Shock)


BRAIN F≠:
So Dim: 7”
Guy-guitar girl-drums duo both singing dirty rad punk fucking rock. Real urgency inside the fuzz here. Back and forth singing works. Feedback with a good pounding speed. Brain F≠ (too sleepy right now to figure out the name) doesn’t invent anything, just rips. Two smoking songs here. They get in the office and get to business, then go home. –Speedway Randy (Grave Mistake, gravemistakerecords.blogspot.com)


BRAIN F≠:
Sleep Rough: LP
You can say that I’m totally high and I’m listening to a completely different band than what’s actually playing on this record. I’m fine with that. Brain F≠ (pronounced “Brain Flannel” (no idea how the “not equal to” sign becomes “lannel”)) come across as a bunch of hardcore folks who channel the following: Sweet JAP, The Saints, The Detroit Cobras, and Taschen. They embrace the stomp and go, barking and wailing, “If you fall off the back, it’s your own damn problem” pacing of Sweet JAP. They bury the sweet and mysterious hookiness of the Saints (albeit completely aggravated and breathless, like the most frenetic tinfoil-in-caves-vertigo moments of (I’m) Stranded). The lady from the Detroit Cobras has a fuckin’ awesome voice, but she’s adamant that the Detroit Cobras are definitely not a punk band. Elise Anderson has an awesome voice and this is unabashedly a punk band. To tie it all up, there’s art at work here that I don’t fully understand, but I don’t think they’re mocking their audience and the graphics look nice, so that’s cool. I rarely make comments about mastering and levels and whatnot because I don’t know dick about that stuff—but this record’s amazing in the fact that the two vocalists are nice and clear in the mix among the buzzing ricochets of blasting instruments. I’m sure they’re murder on live PAs. Exciting. –Todd Taylor (Grave Mistake, gravemistakerecords.com / Sorry State, brainflannel@gmail.com)


BRAIN F≠:
Sleep Rough: LP
Art-clutter via hardcore punk served in ten frantically paced dishes. Male and female vocals are your handrails as distortion and feedback are whipped around, inches away from your face. The sheer noise that’s being created makes this band sound twice as big and 3,000 miles away from the source. I’m absolutely positive it dominates live. Co-released by two of the best hardcore punk labels currently releasing records, you know it’s going to be good. Pick it up and get weird, ‘cause these songs makes the average punk band sound like music that a yuppie would listen to in order to help them fall asleep. –Daryl Gussin (Sorry State / Grave Mistake)


BRAIN F≠:
Empty Set: LP
I love this. It feels like the golden half hour of a party, when all my friends are there and I’m laughing loud but not yet sloppy or sleepy. Brain F≠ is from Charlotte. They play scrappy four-chord punk with motormouth lyrics delivered by a woman with a matter-of-fact voice. Say it, “Brain Flannel.”  –Chris Terry (Grave Mistake / Sorry State)


BRAIN FAILURE:
American Dreamer: CD
Here is something that doesn’t come across your hand too often: street punk out of China! Not just some boombox or cheap studio recording, but recorded here in the states and produced by Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys. Most of the songs are sung in English, but the three that are in Chinese are the best. The delivery is more natural. You can tell that when they write in English, it is not their native tongue. The English is broken and is rough around the edges. But that adds to the flavor, like so many Asian bands that came before them. They pull off great sing-a-longs and really seemed to have really studied the early UK bands. Fun from start to finish, I should have made the effort to go see them when they were touring with the Unseen. –Donofthedead (Thorp)


BRAIN FAILURE / BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE:
Split: CD
Brain Failure: Rancid worship mixed with some Social Distortion from China. I remember liking their CD American Dreamer enough to keep it but haven’t listened to it in a long time. I would have been so into this 5—7 years ago. Big D: They seem to be one of the last few standing of the big ska punk wave of the late ‘90s. For me, I much rather see and hear ska live these days than have to hear a recording of it. It brings up images of boring adults thinking Sublime is still the shit. –Donofthedead (Bad News)


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