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Record Reviews

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GRACKLES, THE:
Honeypot: CD
This hearkens back to the days of early '90s alt-rock, before it denigrated into the completely soppy crap that now flies that flag. I hear bits of Poster Children and others in their sound, and they're quite adept at what they do. In the long run it may not exactly be something I'd listen to all that often, but I do acknowledge their efforts. –Jimmy Alvarado (Pirate Alley)


GRACKLES, THE:
Honeypot: CD
This hearkens back to the days of early ‘90s alt-rock, before it denigrated into the completely soppy crap that now flies that flag. I hear bits of Poster Children and others in their sound, and they’re quite adept at what they do. In the long run it may not exactly be something I’d listen to all that often, but I do acknowledge their efforts. –Jimmy Alvarado (Pirate Alley, no address)


GRADE ONE:
The Porcelain Doll Collection: CD
The Porcelain Doll Collection consists of four songs. Imagine the more recent Brody Dalle style vocals set to alternative ‘90s power chord music while you’re shopping for something black at Hot Topic. The lyrics have a lot of girl power themes laced with plenty of “F” bombs (Don’t worry, there is a Parental Advisory label on the front). If you’re a female catholic school dropout, this EP will probably make you feel less alone. –Ryan Nichols (Self-released, no address listed)


GRADY:
Y.U. So Shady?: CD
This is some kind of a mixture of AmRep-style noise, Man’s Ruin-style heavy rock, and some of that Southern rock at 100 MPH kinda stuff. Not a great-sounding recipe for a band and the results are not spectacular. The band calls their style “Delta Metal,” so if that sounds like your cuppa then belly on up to the bar. –Mike Frame (Alternative Tentacles)


GRAF ORLOCK:
Destination Time Today: LP
Do you like elaborate packaging that looks like it cost a shit ton of money to produce? How about samples from movies in between each and every song? Then boy, do I have the band for you! I’ve set the bar for out of control hardcore with dashes of metal thrown in for good measure at Bucket Full Of Teeth. Graf Orlock didn’t quite reach that level of insanity. There’s something going on behind the scenes that I’m not completely comfortable with as far as the recording production goes. Perhaps the packaging was foreshadowing of what was pressed onto the grooves here. Way too polished and clean-sounding for my liking or for this genre of music. –Juan Espinosa (Adagio 830/Vitriol)


GRAFTON:
Blind Horse Campaign: CD
The Cows rock out to Nashville Pussy. Loud, raucous, and definitely worth a spin. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dead Canary)


GRAFTON:
Self-titled: 7”

Stoner riff rock'n'roll. Sorry, but this hippie shit just ain’t my bag.

 

–Jimmy Alvarado (Derailleur)


GRAHAM PARKER:
Your Country: CD
Well, Razorcake has officially received its first Graham Parker release for review, which no doubt puts us in the running with Rolling Stone as to the only two publications in the world with that dubious honor. It's all downhill from here. Guess it's only a matter of time before the Springsteen and David Lindley bootlegs start pouring in. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bloodshot)


GRAHAM PARKER:
Your Country: CD
The British have a special affinity for classic American country music. From Billy Bragg and Pete Shelley to the Mekons and The The, some of the most faithful interpretations of Johnny, Carl, Patsy and Hank can be found emanating from the shores of the UK. Graham Parker, who possesses Dylan’s cigarette-rough rasp and Elvis Costello’s biting sense of humor, is perfectly suited to the task on Your Country, offering up ten original tracks and one seriously re-written cover of Dave Edmund’s “Crawlin’ from the Wreckage.” Graham, like Costello, Edmunds and, on another level, Richard Thompson, is a songwriter whose career has been distinguished both by intelligent lyrics and equally capable musicianship. And like his fellow countrymen, Graham has an ear for incorporating a variety of musical styles into his own work. Your Country is not, by most definitions, American country per se, nor is it even an extension of the work of Gram Parsons or, more recently, Steve Earle (although the song “Almost Thanksgiving Day” comes awful close). Rather, this is Parker’s music informed by American country, which is, perhaps, even more ambitious than simply covering other artists’ work. Despite being on the Bloodshot label, this is not alt-country by any stretch of the imagination. Longtime Parker fans will instantly recognize his biting commentary and may even have to look closely to find any hint of what most people associate with country music. –eric (Bloodshot)


GRAIN USA:
Catchy Like a Cold b/w Spread It Like a Virus: 7”
Despite myself, I’m diggin Grain USA’s super squeaky clean, I-can-kick-their-asses pop. “Catchy Like a Cold” has enough juice to keep it from sounding sterile and their bubblegum chops have enough snap to keep the song from sounding flaccid. “Spread It Like a Virus” is just as good. It’s an instrumental head bopper that could easily be used for a soundtrack of an invalid overcoming personal tragedy and embracing the magic of the human soul. –Todd Taylor (www.disposablerevolution.com)


GRAIN USA:
Catchy Like a Cold b/w Spread It Like a Virus: 7"
Despite myself, I’m diggin Grain USA’s super squeaky clean, I-can-kick-their-asses pop. “Catchy Like a Cold” has enough juice to keep it from sounding sterile and their bubblegum chops have enough snap to keep the song from sounding flaccid. “Spread It Like a Virus” is just as good. It’s an instrumental head bopper that could easily be used for a soundtrack of an invalid overcoming personal tragedy and embracing the magic of the human soul. –Todd Taylor (www.disposablerevolution.com)


GRAINS, THE:
Demo 2010: CD-R
Dense with confusion, I am. The Grains sound like a band that’s either channeling the ‘60s Brit Invasion or a ‘70s American rock (ala the Strokes or something equally bad) and then the intro to “Beercans and Chicken Bones” reminds me of the Measure (SA)’s song, “Sleep.” So I just don’t fuckin know, man, you got me. I mean, there’s even a bit of a Stiv Bators-esque snarl in the vocal department every once in a while. Mid-tempo rock songs, heavy on the organ, and a mostly faithful cover of “White Man in Hammersmith Palais.” Authentic in the sense that I have no idea where this band is from geographically or scene-wise and they sound consistent to themselves throughout, and confusing because this demo could have come out last month or twenty years ago. In that regard, it’s pretty interesting. –Keith Rosson (NO ADDRESS)


GRAINS, THE:
Stone Street: LP
Wow, ex-Measure dudes playing, like, Americana? Stone Street’s got its many-tentacled arms in folk, bluegrass, an occasional Murder City Devils swagger, and even a whimsical, story-telling quality akin to The Decemberists or something. Very interesting. A five-piece, dense with piano, harmonica, horns, and with a few vocalists at work, the sound is rich and varied. While the previous description might make it sound a little schizophrenic, there’s an undercurrent of solidity here; the songs never lose sight of themselves. This is also a beautifully physical record—heavy chipboard packaging, an accompanying zine, and possibly the most striking piece of colored vinyl I’ve seen in some years. I was not expecting this at all, but goddamn, it’s a nice surprise. It’s clear, especially on songs like “Mio Secolo,” with its compacted structure and story-like quality, that much of Stone Street will take repeated listens to discover and unfurl. That’s definitely something I’m looking forward to. A challenging piece of music in some ways, but a recommended one. –Keith Rosson (Psychic Volt)


GRAMPALL JOOKABOX:
Scientific Cricket: CD
I can’t say if I like it or not. I find it interesting but it doesn’t fill my gut with warm fuzzy feelings or bile. I guess I’d call this quirky lo-fi folk rock, maybe in the vein of Sebadoh or Daniel Johnston. I’m not really a fan of this kind of stuff, but I can’t say this is totally bad either. –Jason Donnerparty (Joyful Noise)


GRAND COLLAPSE:
Self-titled: 7”

A relatively new band from Cardiff/Bristol (U.K.) that delivers three rather stonking tracks of a hardcore variety. The vocals of Calvin Sewell (son of Andrew “Stig” Sewell, formerly of Icons Of Filth) have a Crass/oi like quality to them as he barks out the lyrics, accompanied by a clamorous, yet melodic, din that shifts tempo and direction with ease. The title track, “Grand Collapse,” is a prime example of this and it really does highlight how good this band is. On this evidence, I’d say that Grand Collapse has a promising future and I’m hoping an album is in the pipeline.

–Rich Cocksedge (Pumpkin, matt@pumpkinrecords.co.uk, pumpkinrecords.co.uk)


GRAND COLLAPSE:
Far from the Callous Crowd: LP/CD
Sometimes it doesn’t take long for a record to make an impact. That was certainly the case for me here. “False Dawn” kick starts Far From the Callous Crowdinto life with a thunderous rumble as Grand Collapse’s debut album attempts to blow cobwebs away and clean out sinuses, relying heavily on a metallic six string thrust to back a weighty political punch. The galloping power of this band comes primarily through the guitar and drums, which work perfectly in tandem to keep the riveting pace up for almost the entirety of the record. Cal Sewell’s hoarse vocals are spot on in terms of matching the intensity of the music and provide a gritty outlet for lyrics formed from rage and a need to not give in. The final plus point is that the eleven tracks flow well without blending into each other as some hardcore records do, thus helping make this one of my favorite records of the year.  –Rich Cocksedge (1859 / Pumpkin / Static Shock)


GRAND COLLAPSE:
Far from the Callous Ground: LP
I didn’t quite know what to expect from this, a band featuring the progeny of one of the more respected U.K. punk bands of the early ‘80s on vocals and who cite Propagandhi as a major influence. Lo and behold, this translates into astute U.K. hardcore with its abundant metal influence wielded as a potent augmentation to their sound. Echoes of Slayer’s, um, mellower moments come to the fore when they ratchet the tempos down, and the soothing sounds of Broken Bones’ “metalcore” approach when they don’t. Shit’s tight, pissed, and comes off sincere, making this a definite winner. –Jimmy Alvarado (1859, 1859records.bandcamp.com)


GRAND HOTEL PARADOX:
Rust: CD
I can’t say I’ve ever had the opportunity to review a band from Dubai, but there’s a first time for everything. Eight songs clocking in at twenty-four minutes from this trio seems a little short, but it’s still enough to gather an idea of their sound. There are two vocalists, one sounding like Blake Schwarzenbach pre-polyps surgery and the other fitting what I would imagine a punky nerd would sound like if he fronted an indie rock band. (Yes, I realize that makes no sense, but in my brain it fits perfectly.) The energy on these songs is upbeat; the majority of the music is a combination of indie rock and punk, both in a more poppy version, but not sounding over-polished. The strongest song on Rust is the tune “Home.” It’s not as fast as some of the other songs or as punk-influenced, but it’s got a more emotional feel than the other material. Like many albums I review, Rust isn’t a horrible album, but it’s not a great album either. It seems to fall on the better side of average, which is a good step in the right direction. Tightening some of the songs and songwriting (there were times when the vocalist seems to be singing lyrics so fast he’s almost tripping over them) would help. Also, there is the sense that these songs lack a coherency as one unit; they seem to not flow as well together on the album as they might have. The problem isn’t so much their order on the album as it might be the way the band seems to write songs. Rust doesn’t seem as consistent as it could or should be. –Kurt Morris (grandhotelparadox.com)


GRANDMA’S BOYFRIEND:
Self-titled: 7”
This is chock full of sappy songs of unrequited love and/or murder! Musically, they sound like a less punk version of the Groovie Ghoulies mixed with a super power pop version of The Ramones. They blaze through six catchy tracks here, most of which are barely over a minute long. I liked this quite a bit. –Mark Twistworthy (Log Lady, theeloglady@gmail.com)


GRANDPRIXX, THE:
…Drive Me Crazy! : CD
I used to pronounce this band “grandpree” until several people informed me that its pronounced “grandpricks.” Ack. Even worse. Very mediocre pop punk with slightly annoying vocals. Reminds me of the lesser Mutant Pop bands. If this were a cereal, it’d be generic Fruity Pebbles. Not much here to get excited about. –Maddy (Fork in Hand)


GRANDPRIXX, THE:
Prixxology 1998-2001: CD
This album finely anthologizes The Grandprixx’s existence with forty-two songs, none of which reach the three-minute mark. The Grandprixx found their niche and hit the street running with all of these tracks, except one cover, written by them between the years of 1998 to 2001. I can’t deny their most apparent influence, The Queers, but I’d say the Grandprixx are less ‘50s/‘60s rock pop throw back and more rough around the edges. The music is fast and nihilistic with tunes like “Beers & 15 Year Olds.” This is a fast, fun album done with the right mix of stupidity, music production, and snotty sing-along choruses. The song contents rarely veer past pubescent troubles. What you see is what you get with The Grandprixx, but, at least with this anthology, you get your money’s worth with more than an hour of music. –N.L. Dewart (Cheapskate)


GRANNIES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Punk'n'roll, heavy on the punk, that often comes off as a more rockin', less "fuck" oriented Dwarves. I liked 'em well enough, I guess. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dead Teenager, PO Box 470153, SF, CA 94147-0153)


GRANNIES, THE:
Hot Flashes: CD
Swaggering rock’n’roll stuff with some of the edges scraped off by an otherwise great Endino mix. Sorry, but bands like this need an extra layer of grime. –Jimmy Alvarado (Wondertaker)


GRANNIES, THE:
Self-titled: CD
Punk'n'roll, heavy on the punk, that often comes off as a more rockin', less "fuck" oriented Dwarves. I liked 'em well enough, I guess. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dead Teenager)


GRANNIES, THE:
For Those About to Forget to Rock: LP
Are the Grannies just a gimmick band, only entertaining because they play in drag? I think not. Now that they’re on their seventh full-length, it’s safe to say that they’re at least somewhat serious about their music. Or at least as serious as a group of grownups with a new song entitled “Denture Breath” can be. This is an almost too pretty package for the seedy Grannies: a beautiful gatefold LP, with a full CD copy of the album included as well. The music is the same as it’s always been, with aggressive verses bookending tuneful choruses/sing-alongs. Lot of similar, better bands (Trash Brats and Diesel Queens come to mind) broke up quickly, so these guys are scoring major stamina points, if nothing else. This is a solid sampling of the Grannies, as good as their earlier records I heard. At this rate, they seem to be in it for the long haul. They’ll be granny age for real by the time they hang it up. –Art Ettinger (Wondertaker, wondertaker.com)


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