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Record Reviews

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Thanatonic State: 7”
I am amazed that there are actually people who listen to grindcore. None of the songs are catchy, the lyrics aren’t coherent, and you can’t even sing along. What’s the appeal? If you’ve heard one grindcore band, you’ve heard them all. However, if you have never heard grindcore, this 7” might be mind blowing to you. –Bryan Static (Level Plane/Enucleation)

Peace, Love and Slamdance: Split CD
The singer of Defecation Area has a grating vocal affectation that involves ending lines by swooping into a ridiculously high-pitched pig squeal. It drove me so crazy that I inadvertently jammed congealed pizza cheese into my ears to make it stop. Realizing what I had done, I put my head in the microwave to melt the cheese out so I could hear Tony Jones and the Cretin 3 rip off some Ramones riffs. That bored me so bad that I just left my head in the microwave until the whole shebang melted. Then I put this CD in there too. –mp (tonyjones.org)

Yeah, I’m a Terrorist b/w Little Ways: 7”
I loved this band the instant I saw them perform and this 7” is just as intense as their live performances. It’s relentless from start to finish while still being musically engaging and well spoken. This band is literally and figuratively in your face, and no I’m not one of those jackasses who gets that word wrong, just go see them live. This is highly recommended and hopefully will be able to tide you over until they release something else. –Daryl Gussin (Clarence Thomas)

Demo, Yeah, I’m A Terrorist b/w Little Ways: Tape, 7”
Holy shit; new favorite band. Quick synopsis, think if Black Flag kicked out Henry, and brought in Milo. Even still, I think that’s kind of not doing them justice. Kinda weird, with a perfect balance of being really pissed off, alongside hopeful optimism. I’m also going to point out that on the 7”, there’s four different covers, one for each member. I’m way psyched that there’s still good, serious punk bands, that still love fun. This is awesome. –joe (Clarence Thomas)

Words: 7"
I’m old fashioned. I involuntarily wince when a band I really dig breaks up (The Observers) and the folks go on to other bands. Totally unfair of me. Guilty. Suckin’. It takes a bit of time for the water to recede from the previous endeavor and listen to the new project by itself, of itself. Fact 1: Colin and Mike are two golden dudes who know how to play and their ethics are unquestionable (again, old fashioned of me, I know). Fact 2: Instead of griping, or “pulling a Misfits” or “pulling a Dead Kennedys” and holding on to the vestiges of a once-great band, these two go a completely new route. Fact 3: Bands that clone Black Flag (pick your era) suck. Bands that find those hidden lightning bolts and charge their own brains can rule, and Defect Defect do just that. It’s a straight-forward attack that’s simple, yet mighty effective. Fact 4: I’ll give any band that’s named after a Wipers lyric more than the benefit of the doubt. Theory 1: I have the feeling they’ve got plenty of surprises up their sleeves and I can’t wait to hear more. Conclusion: awesome. –todd (Clarence Thomas, www.bistrodistro.com)

Words: 7"
It’s official; I still think Defect Defect are one of the best bands going in American punk today (actually, just make that punk). The A side is new versions of songs from the demo tape, and one of the best examples of making you feel like you’re seeing a band live ever. The B side is one new song that’s a little weirder, but makes me really anxious to see what kind of directions they’re going in. Though at this rate, I don’t want a full length, because if they tour the U.S. for every 7” they put out, my guess is that they’ll somehow strap water skis to their van and literally drive it around the Earth to support an LP. Seriously, get into this band right now. –joe (Clarence Thomas, www.bistrodistro.com)

Self-titled: CDR
I’m not making this reference casually: early Black Flag (which is the Black Flag in which I abide). Every member is a monster at their instrument. There’s a militia-like staccato, like a grim, ritualized beating, coming from every direction. Colin’s voice marshals commands and directives. The shaped charge of each song hits the target in a tight cluster. Maximum impact. Minimum fuss or flourish. This is dire, direct, penetrating shit. Very good. –todd (Self-released? Got the silk-screened tour edition when they played nearby.)

Self-titled: 12” EP
Finally available on vinyl, this is one killer 12”. Defect Defect is one of the best bands in the U.S. playing mid-(to fast)-tempo, straight-forward hardcore punk. It definitely has its flourishes and intricacies, but its most valuable asset is its bass-heavy, to-the-point aggression. No clutter, no distractions, just rock solid songs. It’s been a long time since the Words EP came out, but this record has made it worth the wait. –Daryl Gussin (Residue)

Self-titled: 12" EP
Remember when it seemed like these guys used to play your town at least three times a year? Those were great times. Now after an (understandable) hiatus, they’re apparently back, with more of the straight-forward punk that channels the aggression of Black Flag as well as the slight goofiness (i.e., not taking themselves way too seriously) of the Descendents. There also seems to be a little more of a classic ‘80s hardcore influence (and a little more Wipers-esque weirdness in spots) this time around as well for this fantastic mini-album. It’s bands/records like this that I love to write about. Welcome back. –joe (Residue)

Self-titled: Cassette
I’ve already expressed my love of Defect Defect, hesitating to call them “one of the best ‘80s hardcore revisionists going today,” only because they’re not afraid of putting their own weird spin on it. For some reason, it doesn’t surprise me that a French label would put out a limited cassette singles/vinyl collection. It’s not new stuff so I don’t know what else to say about it—other than it’s a neat little release—especially if you’ve missed out on some of their other records. –joe (Crapoulet, crapoulet.fr)

My Life Is like Death: 7”
Three punk rock heat blasts from a band that I thought was no more. Defect Defect play spit-in-your-eye punk rock with no pretense. I keep spinning this back to back to back and I can’t get enough. There is so much loathing, both inward and out. There is a lot to be pissed about in the world, and Defect Defect definitely taps into it. I sure hope they haven’t called it a day. I would love to see them play again.  –Ty Stranglehold (Dirt Cult)

3-way split: 1-sided LP
It’s a three-band show that’d totally rule. Three contemporary punk bands on three different channels, but all on the same wavelength, if that makes any sense. Defect Defect: Colin couldn’t be clearer. He’s calling out all punks who got “too old” and have “given in.” I can almost see his crooked glasses slipping off his face as he sings this. Black Flag? Absolutely. Damaged, not TheProcess of Weeding Out. Lines drawn. Tough love. Napalmed babies. I’m down. Daylight Robbery: Sounds like their records come with a spool of police tape that raps around your stereo as it plays. It cordons off a crime scene, sets the place in noir-ish blacks and whites, expands to ten times its original volume, and carefully inspects and detects. Think X, Los Angeles, not Hey Zeus! Foreign Objects: I blame professional wrestling. When I did a podcast with Bill Pinkel and he played the Foreign Objects, I was like, “Oh, there was an L.A. band called that.” No, no there wasn’t. It was Legal Weapon. The professional wrestling opposite of a Foreign Object. Although the guitar plays “Just Another Damn Song” by Bad Brains, this is totally Legal Weapon-y, Death of Innocence, not Squeeze Me like an Anaconda. Summation: Oh, hell yeah, I hear echoes of bands before. But it’s the best echoes, not the questionable ones (that loved the Grateful Dead and hair metal). Run that correct shit up a pole. Great stuff. –todd (Dirt Cult)

Bruised and Satisfied: CD
Based on all its ingredients—strong ‘60s garage tunes with a gloomy tinge, Farfisa organs, sound quality that doesn’t sound like utter shit—I should be lapping this up with a large spoon, but something I just can’t place my finger on is keeping me from doing so. Best I can figure is it’s missing just a smidge more oomph to push it over the edge. Gonna hafta listen to this one a while longer and see if it grows on me. –jimmy (www.badafro.dk)

Turn Me On: CD
I’m new to the Danish band the Defectors, so I don’t have the previous full lengths to go on. They are a mix of ‘60s Nuggets bands and the Scandinavian ROCK sound that seemed to really catch some attention in 1998. The strongest song is “It’s Gonna Take Some Time,” where they really do come across with what could be an obscure song from 1968. Sadly, some of the tracks fall back on lazy rock clichés. They do come across as a band that is still experimenting. –Wanda Sprag –Guest Contributor (Bad Afro)

The Demos: CD
For those not in the know, the Defects were one of Belfast’s early punk bands, responsible for an album and a handful of singles. Though they started out in 1978, they’re often lumped in with the whole UK82 crop of bands, with tunes like “Dance Until You Drop” and their other catchy tunes fitting in well with that era of U.K. punk’s edgy urgency. Collected here are some rarities/obscurities, including their first demo from 1979, and tunes from three live shows from the years 1980, 1982 and 1984, respectively. The demo tracks are nice ‘n’ catchy, and the live stuff can be a bit of a rough listen in parts—which makes sense, considering they’re from audience tapes by the sound—but the band’s energy manages to shine through the muck. Sweetening the deal is the small fanzine-sized accompanying booklet, chock full of pics and clippings, covering the band’s career and some back stories on the recordings. According to said booklet, the band’s out and about again, so if you find yourself in their neck of the woods (or vice-versa) you’d do well to pay one of their gigs a visit –jimmy (Anti-Society)

Secret Trials: 7" single
Only two songs: short and simple, yet addictive as hell. Enough to get you off your dead ass and hovering over the turntable to flip the record over for another listen. And another and another and another... Defektors take a page from early L.A. punk like the Eyes, but with more of a garage sound. Damn catchy, played with attitude, and a solid delivery. Downright life-affirming. –Matt Average (Nominal)

“No to the Nite” b/w “Torn to Pieces”: 7"
Reverby, repetitious dance punk that’s so catchy and full of rockin’ parts that there’s no need to get into the ugly details like: who calls something a double A-side 7”? If this is what hipsters are listening to these days, that ain’t too shabby. –Daryl Gussin (Hockey Dad)

The Bottom of the City: LP
Wow! I have the two singles, and they’re pretty good, but this album totally surpasses any expectations I had towards these guys. The music has become more urgent and direct, shedding some of the instrumental touches but gaining more power. There’s definitely an early Wipers influence in the music, with the jittery rhythms and skirting the territory between punk and post punk. The influence is really apparent on the “Burning Light,” which goes off into “Youth Of America” territory with its duration and surf guitar sound. Songs tend to stay in the mid-tempo range, but can get really lit up, as on “Kickfirstone,” which starts off much in the same way as the others, then it’s fast and in your face. Head on over to the last record store in town and get it. –Matt Average (Nominal / Grotesque Modern, recordsnominal.com)

“Animal Eyes” b/w “Time to Say Goodbye”: 7”
The pedigree’s legit. L.A. band that started in 1980. Songs recorded in 1982. Took thirty years to release. It’s a family affair. Defenders’ vocalist Paul Maurer is Justin Maurer’s (Clorox Girls, LA Drugz) father. I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but it sounds like a band that really loves the Doors and Hendrix, but realized that punk was really happening. (Shit, The Alley Cats were that way—great musicians who were on the hard rock/punk rock fence and “Nothing Means Nothing Anymore” smokes.) Although I appreciate this 7” for what it is—archival, nice fidelity—there are a couple of things that are preventing me from going bananas. The music’s a hair too slow. It’s a hair too “actor”y and “musician”y. Again, I’m fine with theatrics (see TSOL, Dead Kennedys), but with all these elements in play, it’s a definitely a cool artifact (nobody likes to be forgotten), but nothing like stumbling upon something truly startling that rarely gets mention, like the Cheifs’ Holly-West Crisis. –todd (17 Television)

Demo 2010: CD-R
Some serious ‘80s hardcore worship from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Very reminiscent of bands like Cryptic Slaughter and Attitude Adjustment in bearing and feelings evoked, you know, if not entirely in execution (Defenestrator is not a particularly fast band). But goddamn if there is not some definite crossover worship going on here. Packaged in a piece of written-on cardboard, stenciled on and duct-taped shut, there’s a very clear “use what ya got” aesthetic here, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Here it just comes across as sloppy; luckily the music fared much better than the packaging. Not bad at all. –keith (Defenestrator)

Out of the Ashes: CD
Revisionist anarchy-core, meaning it’s heavy on the oi influences and yet maintains the stereotypical sloganeering first popularized by Crass, utilized by Discharge and Conflict and thereafter taken to ridiculous extremes. While I don’t disagree with most of the sentiments expressed here, their lyrics come off as one big whine and their fuckin’ use of the fuckin’ word “fuck” was pretty fuckin’ ridiculous if not fuckin’ gratuitous, and didn’t fuckin’ make them sound any more fuckin’ angry than they fuckin’ did before, which was the intended fuckin’ effect, I fuckin’ think. Overall, they were better than some I’ve heard wallowing in this pigeonhole, but this complacency with sounding just like everyone else is just exasperating. Ain’t a damn thing defiant about being yet another cheap knockoff. Then again, I guess individuality and creativity are anathema when you’re “another cheap product for the consumer’s head.”
–jimmy (Punk Core)

The Very Best of…: CD
Pretty shoddy packaging for a “Best of,” which smells of cheap cash-in. The tunes lying within, however, are tremendous. As with stuff from the past, there needs to be some context to understand the present. Long before the Warped Tour and clowns with mohawks in shopping malls, there were a select few American bands with liberty spikes, studded jackets, and a political agenda. While Fat and Epitaph started their roads to glory, bands like Resist, Deprived, and Defiance carried the torch for UK82. I saw Defiance in a squat in London in the early ‘90s and they were great, even though we laughed at how “punk” they were. This shit all stands the test of time, sounding like a politicized Abrasive Wheels. I have all this shit on vinyl, so this crap CD is landfill. If you missed out, dig in.  –Tim Brooks (Jailhouse, jailhoserecords.com)

Born in Sin, Come On In: CD
This one surprised me; from the tattoo-flashesque album art, I was planning on hearing some sub-par Devil Dogs/Humpers stuff here, but instead Defiance Of Authority manages to occasionally and nearly brilliantly stumble into the same oeuvre as the Descendents. Not always, but at least half the songs here have that same tuneful, tough-but-decipherable, “rocks in a bag of velvet hitting you in the nether-region” kind of quality. There’s something inherently modern at work here—they’re right on the cusp of that radio-friendly punk sound, taking pointers from plenty of bands on the Fat roster, but there’s just a slight tinge of venom that makes the whole thing palatable. Six studio songs and five demo tracks. Cracks me up that two of their songs are titled “Fuck It, Let’s Roll” and “Fuck It, It’s On.” As a whole, they strike me as a band right on the cusp of nailing down their sound totally and completely, and when they do they’re going to be a band we’d all better watch out for. –keith (www.defianceofauthorityrocks.com)

The Great Depression: CD
I first saw Defiance, Ohio in a small space in L.A. as the last band after Toys That Kill, The Bananas, and This Bike Is A Pipebomb. It’s no small feat to follow any of those bands (let alone the three of them together), but they held their own. The room was still filled with kids shouting, swinging on a rope from the ceiling, and dancing and sweating the little sweat they had left. The Sissies mixed with the folk leanings of This Bike with violin, cello, and upright bass. Interesting recorded, fun as hell live. Good stuff indeed. –megan (No Idea)

Midwestern Minutes: CD
Defiance, Ohio seem smart enough to know that they’re dancing on sharpened swords. They see that the edges are honed and so shiny they’re reflective. These swords can be melted down into plows that will irrigate future fields of highly productive records that’ll bloom bountiful and beautiful. They also can see that these swords can be turned into guillotines. Or can remain swords and people get stabbed and gutted and beheaded by swords. Oh, folk punk, what a mistress, what a double-edged sword. Defiance, Ohio are dancing on the sharpened swords of folk punk and they’re one of the best bunch of dancers on the planet right now. Do they supersede a made-up label—that they didn’t ask for—slapped to their side like international luggage going through customs? What do I know? I know that Midwestern Minutes is a well realized record that’s super duper pleasant, played with traditional instruments and high levels of conscientiousness and preciousness. –todd (No Idea)

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