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Record Reviews

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Circle Change: LP
I nearly dismissed this record. Delay’s 2009 LP, Plain Language, features a slew of plucky pop punk gems that are all personal favorites alongside The Max Levine Ensemble’s OK Smartypants. But I was taken aback by Circle Change’s gut-wrenching, mid-tempo tonal shift. The opener, “Explanation,” contemplates personal insecurities (“I need to trust my own guts again instead of getting fucking high”) with some of the heaviest guitar tones the band has ever committed to vinyl. Each subsequent song is methodical, plodding, and painfully honest (“I want to fuck without feeling gutted”) with ‘90s indie and emo influences intermingled. (I’m hearing some definite Superchunk and Silkworm vibes.) Although I initially felt disconnected, I listened again—and again. I decided to re-listen to an early LP, Don’t Laugh, which is scrappy, chorus-driven punk, then Rushing Ceremony for the very first time: That’s when it finally clicked. Like an estranged friend, I foolishly assumed that Delay would be identical to how I remembered them back in 2009. After some catching up, they are both the band I missed as well as a moodier, more introspective group that is equally as memorable, if not superior to their previous sound. They have peeled back the pop punk artifices, leaving something raw and vulnerable. Delay is a friend who has grown up with or without you. Highly recommended. –Sean Arenas (Salinas)

Losing My Mind: CDEP
I’m not sure what to make of this one. There are moments during this five-song EP that remind me of early ‘80s bands like Hoodoo Gurus and The Smithereens. But then there are other moments, when they sound more like later ‘80s hair bands like Poison and Ratt. I think the problem is that the lead guitarist sounds like he wants to be in a pop-metal band, while the rest of the band want to be in a ‘77-era punk band. The songs are mediocre, but if they can clear up this confusion about who they want to sound like, I think they’ll be a lot more enjoyable. –brian (no label)

Self-titled: Cassette
If these cats don’t wear jumpsuits onstage I’m gonna be pissed. Never nostalgia for its own sake, but an updated approach: Deletions’ modus operandi is to meld herky-jerk rhythms and catchy vocal phrasing, which refer to new wave without outright aping it, filtered through sheets of glitch. Usually music which nods to the past like this takes a similar production approach to its predecessor, but here the audio is decidedly lo-fi, adding an unclean edge. Great stuff, especially for fans of Devo and the A-Frames. –Michael T. Fournier (deletions.bandcamp.com)

Filmezza: CD
The bio for this release from Delicate Noise states, “warm and sentimental songs wash in and out with lullaby-like melodies, augmented with disembodied voices of children playing.” And while I like the sound of the first part I wasn’t real down with the “disembodied voices of children playing.” That’s mainly because, while I love my nephew, I don’t like a lot of other kids and to hear them on various tracks saying things repeatedly as it’s synced with a repetitive beat just kept reminding me of when little kids say “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” repeatedly until they get their mom’s attention. Except, in the case of this album, I couldn’t tell what the kids were saying. I’ll admit, as someone who doesn’t want children, I’m probably the worst possible person to review this. That being said, this album would’ve been a lot better if it had just been the music and not any vocal accompaniment at all (child or otherwise). And by better, I mean for someone who actually likes electronica music. I’m probably the worst possible person to review this for that reason, too. –Kurt Morris (Lens)

Self-titled: CD
I’ll start with the disclaimer that none of this is in English, and I personally have struggled with more than one intro language course. That said, I think this is either Finnish or Polish, and for the first ten seconds it sounds like weird Sonic Youth worship until it turns into yelling-lady anarcho metal. This is made funnier by the fact that according to internet searching, a Delicje is some sort of chocolate cookie biscuit. Again, I don’t know how to make the connection, but it’s interesting, for sure! –Joe Evans III (No Pasaran)

Do the Uncle Willy: CD
A reissue of a 1989 collection featuring selected tracks from this Childish-related vocal group’s first two albums, as well as the obligatory unreleased gem or two. As with their later incarnation as Thee Headcoatees, the emphasis is on punkified ‘60s rock and, as with that band, the music is top-notch. –Jimmy Alvarado (Get Hip)

…Are Your Girlfriend’s Favorite Band: 7”
I had to call upon nearly all of my grit reserve to take this off the turntable. And that’s despite the moderately pedantic Kiss cover that opens the B-side. The other two tunes show that they’ve got the goods, though, and their jester mentality makes me take them all the more seriously—rocking tunes and jokes! It’s like having beer and deer jerky! –The Lord Kveldulfr (Sonico)

“Panic” b/w “Uptown Lover”: 7”

Little bitty guitars doing a rapid-fire ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding inside my skull like mice with jackhammers, vocals that sound like they’re coming out of the mouth of a Strawberry Shortcake® doll without pupils, and a drummer who left his cymbals in the gig bag out by the dumpster and couldn’t care less about retrieving them. Although “Panic” is clearly labeled parenthetically as the “single,” it’s the also-helpfully-denoted “demo,” “Uptown Lover,” that had me doing a double-take ((on the completely unexpected line “I’m a sex-crazed dope fiend!”, no less)). I think the word for which we’re all striving here is “keen!” BEST SONG: “Uptown Lover” BEST SONG TITLE: “Panic” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded on Guy Fawkes’ Night ((uncredited))!

–Rev. Norb (Thread Pull, threadpullrecords.com)

They Found My Naked Corpse Face Down in the Snow: 7” EP
Angry, noisy hardcore with oodles of violent lyrical imagery and mile-long song titles a la Charles Bronson. –Jimmy Alvarado (Grey Sky)

Self-titled: 7”
If you’re hearing this music, you are one of three places: a fucked up junkie warehouse with a practice space, some shit hole where you can smell the urinal from your seat at the bar, or working next to this girl who I used to work with and her GG/Mentors tape has just finished and this is the next thing to come on. Super lo-fi, what I call “Three F’s” punk. The three F’s are of course “fucking,” “fighting,” and... um… “finding and then doing drugs.” Tolerable moments are the Fear and Supercharger covers. –Steveo (Die Slaughterhouse)

Piss on Your Wounds: Cassette
Some current DC hardcore—fast and earnest and angry. Every song an epithet— lashing out at falseness and weakness—in personal life and broader humanity alike. It owes a lot to classic hardcore with its slam pit-centric, speedy riffs and pounding drums. I’d like to see them change it up a bit and add a few more elements to their songs, but if you just want fast and angry, you’ll find a bunch of that here. –Craven (self-released, jamesdoubek@gmail.com)

Self Inductance: Cassette
Some nasty d-beat hardcore. Primal, gasping, deep-throat vocals, beefy metallic guitar, maniacal drums. Demands lists Agnostic Front and Deaththreat as influences, but it reminds me more of the fastcore of lore, think of an über bro’d-out Vitamin X. Feel like punching the world in the face but your existential self is just too sloth to give a fuck? This might be your soundtrack. –Camylle Reynolds (Self-released)

Hellbilly Storm: CD
Hooray. Yippie. Huzzah. Yawn. This album from the debatable progenitors of psychobilly is one of the better psychobilly comeback endeavors; their musicianship has been honed and perfected but their voices sound just a tad tired. Demented Are Go is still doing the mutant zombie demon gore thing, but there are a few exciting treats that are just so good I’m almost in favor of this album. Although the lyrics are still about getting drunk, gore, skating and the bourgeois, some of the music is just so damn catchy. Now if there were just a little more. –Jessica Thiringer (Hepcat)

In Sickness & In Health/Kicked out of Hell: CD/CD
Most known musically for their scratching vocals, deliberate and twangy guitar, and disciplined bass control, DAG are one of the founding members of British psychobilly. Mark Philips’ heavily partied, panty-creaming, baritone voice is one of the most imitated today. They pushed the envelope on gory and perverse lyrical content and perplexed audiences with their often gender-bending appearance. In Sickness & In Health is their first long-player, released in 1986 on ID Records. It includes favorites like “Pervy in the Park,” “(I Was Born A) Busted Hymen,” “Holy Hack Jack,” “Rubber Love,” and “Don’t Go in the Woods.” Kicked out of Hell is a reissue of their second full-length album, originally released in 1988, also on ID. Includes standards like “Satan’s Rejects,” “Cripple in the Woods,” and “Cast Iron Arm,” and some of my own favorites, “Shadow Crypt,” “Old Black Joe,” and “Vietnam.” Both albums are excellent reminders that psychobilly is a culmination of a decades of influences and musical talent beyond merely sick, sloppy, fast, and out of control.  –Jessica Thiringer (Anagram/Cherry Red)

The Day the Earth Spat Blood: CD
This band sounds insane. The singer growls and cackles over drums that sound like they’re coming from some cobweb-covered tomb somewhere. The guitar is a bearded hydra breathing fire into every shadowy corner that the bass rumbles around in. Unnerving asylum laughter and multi-personality ramblings ebb and flow out of songs at random points. At times, it sounds like it’s standing behind you, just waiting for an opportunity to put its thick hands on your head and crush your skull, not even understanding how serious the crime it’s committing really is. The reissue of this psychobilly album from ‘89 comes with a bonus live set that was previously released in ‘90. –MP Johnson (Cherry Red)

Live and Rockin’: CD
I remember Gator from the long-gone Bea Pickles playing these guys for me on the way to a scooter rally both our bands were playing and wondering how that singer managed to do that with his voice. Seriously, it sounds part Tuvan throat singing, part tracheotomy side effect, and it fits the band’s variation on the psychobilly template just fine. This is a reissue of a live album originally on Link Records, featuring the band tearing through songs with such charming titles as “Human Slug,” “Pervy in the Park,” “Sick Spasmoid” and “Anal Wonderland.” The performances are spirited, the tempo revved up, the sound great, and the band in very fine form. Can’t ask for much more than that, I reckon.  –Jimmy Alvarado (www.cherryred.co.uk)

No Job, Blowjob: 7”
These two guys sure did tap into something with the name of this record. Some people just seem to think it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever seen. Equals parts dementia and the realistic boundaries of “what is music,” they concoct a rather hearty stew with the ingredients being: acoustic ukulele / guitar, theremin, vibraphone (whatever that is), and their own voices. It’s a crunchy sound, made for people who like things a little on a strange and silly side. Contains ex-members of the Ultra Twist. –Daryl Gussin (Bubca)

Split: Cassette
Thee Dements have a nice thing going on—very much camped out in the lo-fi, spastic garage rock vein, light on the distortion and heavy on the sass. It’s mostly a little too goofy for me, but they’ve got some real moments of magic, like with the oddly convincing “Keep Droaning On” and “You Are a Fool”—where they channel a weird kind of 1960s Animals-like somberness. Surprising; it really shouldn’t work but it does. Number 71 Monobands, however, doesn’t fare nearly as well—this one-man band sounds like the sabertooth tiger from the Flintstones found a kickdrum and learned a few blues riffs, or the Almighty Do Me A Favor guy doing mescaline with the Tasmanian Devil until they both wake up the next day with weird, embarrassing tattoos. That may sound great, but trust me, it isn’t. –Keith Rosson (Bubca)

Split: Cassette
California band, Thee Dements sound like Brak from Space Ghost singing for a sloppy garage punk band doing a show in an empty oil barrel. Number 71 Monobanda is a one-man band from Italy that sounds like Grape Ape singing. I thought this was some weird outsider music, but through some quick googling, I found out that a lot of people like these bands. So I guess I just don't get it. –Craven (Self-released)

Bastards of the Nation: CD


While I thought it was cool getting to check out a hardcore punk band all the way from China, slick production work by Brian Hardgroove (Public Enemy), and nice packaging were not enough to save this album. Demerit is a band with an identity crisis. This album sounds like the band couldn’t figure out how they wanted to sound or what genre they wanted to play, so they wrote separate songs for each of the genres they like. This gives the album a disjointed feel, like a really bad compilation, not an album. There’s some ‘80s NYHC-style songs, some oi and street punk songs, and some straight-up ‘80s metal, with an acoustic jam closing the album. With such radically different sounds to each song—and none of them particularly memorable—this album flounders around as if in search of musical direction. If Demerit ever finds such a direction, they will be a force to be reckoned with, but this album is lost, and should stay that way.

–Paul J. Comeau (Tenzenmen)

Shake It: 7”

Title track is a primal stomper long on attitude and short on pretense. Flip is along the same lines, with lyrics providing a snapshot of life in a band.

–Jimmy Alvarado (Mooster)

Woes and So's: CD
Pretty generic power-pop without much power? or hooky-ness to make it pop, which doesn't leave you with much. –Megan Pants (Johann's Face)

Woes and So’s: CD
Deminer incorporate an incredible amount of bits from the ever-changing, but consistently recognizable Chicago sound. They’ve got hummy bits that’d be at home with the Alkaline Trio, a small bead of Pegboy’s sweat streaming down their face, the sonic forearm force of the Arrivals. Even the sweeten, derelict pop of Lynyrd's Innards. With that said, as a whole, Deminer lacks sinew. So many parts are there, but they seem just a little disjointed and just don’t seem connected for maximum force, like they’re trying too many things at once, instead of stewing in their own musical juices for longer. Five fingers vs. a fist type thing. But, since, they seem Chicago-centric in sound, I’m putting my bids in for more Effigies and more Naked Raygun in the monitors. I won’t count them out in the future, but I wasn’t blown away by this CD.  –Todd Taylor (Johann’s Face)

Woes and So’s: CD
Pretty generic power-pop without much power… or hooky-ness to make it pop, which doesn’t leave you with much. –Megan Pants (Johann’s Face)

There Is a Difference: CD
Joyful, primitive sounds soaked in whiskey and sleaze. The drumming is so simple you’d think Mo Tucker’s mongoloid brother was thumping out beats behind the kit. Plenty of guitar fuzz and soulful, Joplin-esque vocals make this sound like a greasier version of the Subsonics. There is a Difference is a celebration of the carnal, a lusty, punk blues explosion of sex and rock’n’roll. Recommended. –Josh Benke (Swami)

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