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Record Reviews

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METEORS:
Psychobilly: CD


Wow, I didn’t even know these guys were still around. As suggested by the title, they’re still doing the psychobilly thang, although they don’t sound anywhere near as frantic as I remember ‘em being back in the day. The mix here doesn’t help matters much, either, as it sounds like they recorded this in a big, empty hall. Lackluster and disappointing, to say the least

–Todd Taylor (I Used To Fuck People Like You In Prison)


METH MOUNTAIN:
SELF-TITLED: CD
I don’t really care for this band name, but found that, strangely, I like it a lot better when it’s written: “MethMtn.” Go figure. There is a black drawing of a wolf on the (white) cover of the CD. I actually love wolves but this drawing seems a little typical. I thought they were going to be a metal band. Some of the songs maybe start a bit metal, but then the rhythm and the way the guy sings, I feel, is more punk. Man, that singer is gravelly! Makes my throat hurt just listening, but I like it. They seem like they might be young. Sometimes they sound like kids just fucking around, but then they pull something out that’s a bit more mature. Kind of mid tempo, not too fast. One of the rhythms reminded me of the Sex Pistols. The singer’s voice sometimes reminded me of Born Against a little (although the music doesn’t sound like them). The third song I liked the most. They sound a little disgruntled, like they might be ready to kick your ass, but in a gritty, alley kind of way, not in a hardcore jock kinda way. On Self Aware records (which also puts out a zine, apparently); the name of which sounds to me like it might be a straight edge gig or something. Nothing that would seem to really blow me away and, yet, I have listened to it numerous times already. An unexpected surprise. –Jennifer Federico (SELF AWARE , MYSPACE.COM/SELFAWAREZINE)


METH MOUNTAIN:
Monotony: 7" EP
The problem with giving a song a title like “Monotony” is that one is gonna expect it to sound monotonous and, lo and behold, it does. “The Regulators” and “Vessels” much better, with ‘em dishing up more up-tempo, rock-tinged punk fodder with just enough personality and avoidance of standard punk/hardcore clichés to keep things interesting. The triangle-shaped lyric sheet was cool, too. –Jimmy Alvarado (lunchboxrecords.com)


METH MOUNTAIN:
Discography: Cassette
Another of those instances where I find out about an awesome band once they’ve split up. I wish they would have stuck around a bit longer. I could have then obsessed over them, bought up their vinyl, and hoped they’d one day come play L.A. But nope. They called it quits this past February (2010). Fuckin’ nuts... What needs to happen is they need to rethink this decision, get out of town, tour, and rule the world, or at least the world of the hardcore scene. Their sound is hardcore that’s fast without being ridiculously fast, raw, and distorted, and they throw in some curves with forays into noise as well as the sludge number, “Devil’s Lettuce.” If you like bands like Total Abuse and Fresh Meat—and who doesn’t, really?—then I recommend this. All this stuff was recorded in a year. It shows a band who was progressing their sound and could have gone on to make some greater records. Glad I grabbed this one! –Matt Average (Self Aware, selfawarerecords.com)


METH TEETH:
Meth Teeth: 7”
Sweet rotisseried baby! This is a dark and deeply disturbing record. It opens with “Bus Rides,” a frenetic onslaught reminiscent of The Tyrades. “Unemployment Forever” is more subdued but poleaxes you with its darkness. The song is punctuated by an open bass note that resonates out of the void and stabs you in the brain. It’s a hellish sound, like a cow on the slaughterhouse floor. It makes you remember why warriors blew into conch shells or beat on goat skin drums before an attack: it makes the enemy shit their pants and wish they were dead. The second side is a bit mellower, a cross between Morphine without the jazz syncopation and Bryan Ferry all looped out on Oxycontin. Get this record if you dare, but do yourself a favor and search for them through their label or pictures of seriously fucked up teeth are going to pop up in your search engine. Unnerving.  –Jim Ruland (Sweet Rot)


METHADONES, THE:
Ill at Ease: CD
Man, I can’t fuckin’ believe how uncannily The Methadones aurally resemble Bad Religion before BR sold their souls to the major label big boys. This grandslam CD illustriously possesses all of the frenetic grandeur of Suffer, No Control, Against the Grain, and Generator. The songs are intricately structured, tight, cohesive, and perfectly sculpted – melodious, yet drenched with intelligence, attitude, and disquieting inner rage. The vocalist has Greg Graffin’s indignant monotone down to a tee, precisely enunciating each syllable and spitting it out with obvious disdain for the world around him. The soaring starburst harmonies are thickly layered with abrupt strafings of sky-rocketing guitar leads, bone-shattering rhythm guitar crunch, bazooka-blast fieriness from the bass’s low-end roar, and explosive mortar-shell drum wallops. Gimme another beer. Fuck heroin. I’ve got The Methadones! –Roger Moser Jr. (A-F)


METHADONES, THE:
21st Century Power Pop Riot: CD
This CD is chockfull of covers of obscure and one-hit wonder songs from the ‘70s and ‘80s power pop phenomenon. It’s simply delish. My favorite track to have on repeat in the car has to be “Back of My Hand,” a Jags cover. So friggin great. The songs feature cameo appearances from members of Dillinger Four and the Copyrights, among others, and an amazing guest lead vocal performance on “Goodbye To You” by Annie of The Soviettes. This album has me amped. I can’t wait for the Methadones to hunker down and get back to writing original tunes. Will someone offer these guys a multi-billion dollar deal already? We MUST ensure the actualization of a large discography...and making it so Schafer and the boys can focus on and get paid to write music is the only way possible! Fuck those American Idol finalists. The winner is the Methadones...who’s got the contracts? Step up motherfuckers! –Mr. Z (Red Scare)


METHADONES, THE:
Not Economically Viable: CD
I usually stay away from saying things like “my favorite band is...” or “the best band in the world is...” simply due to the fact that it would be impossible for me to decide. I listen to countless genres of music (from jazz and afro-beat to rock, hip hop and countless off shoots of such things) and this list is way too immense to even begin formulating a specific answer to those types of questions. What I can do is tell you is which band has been in constant rotation in my car and at work this winter. I play their albums over and over again and never seem to get sick of them. Their songs manage to make me smile and feel better about life in a way that shows I’m not the only other melancholy romantic out there who isn’t gothic or emo or (insert sad-face stereotype here). Yes, folks, it’s The Methadones I’m rambling on and on about. Their dark and full-bodied take on pop punk is fucking amazing. It’s not the thumb-up-your-butt pop punk of Blink-182. It’s not the whiny pop punk of New Found Glory. And it’s not as simple and stripped down as bands like The Ramones, either. Although Dan Schafer, the frontman for the Methadones, was in Screeching Weasel, this band also doesn’t take on a bratty tone nor the arrogant know-it-all stance of the aforementioned band or, let’s say, the Queers or MTX. The music is nothing short of amazing. Great guitars, perfect drums, and the best lead and backing vocals of any band out there right now—mainstream or not. The lyrics kill me; they are so beautiful and smart and sad and cynical and positive all at the same time. Each full-length takes you on a rockin’ emotional roller coaster while the catchy choruses and hooks stick in your brain like white on rice. The first album on A-F was good. But it wasn’t until Career Objective that the song writing took full shape and dropped my jaw to my chest. Not Economically Viable is wonderful, too, though. There are more songs on Career Objective that seem to steal your heart at first listen, but this album is just as good and it’s a themed album loosely based on one of my all-time favorite movies, Falling Down, which portrays Michael Douglas’ character as having a nervous breakdown in the post-modern world we live and work in—you can tell I dwell in cubicles by day, can’t you? A themed album is hard enough... imagine undertaking such topics! It’s beautiful, I tell you, just beautiful! I haven’t been this emotionally attached to nor impressed by every piece of music on a pop punk band’s discography since Washington’s Sicko (and quite possibly the Vindictives before that). Ah, my beloved Methadones. This is the real deal folks. Real emotions. Real topics. Real good music, and if you’re not a fan or have never heard them before, start off with Career Objective and see if I’m not spitting the truth. –Mr. Z (Thick)


METHADONES, THE:
Not Economically Viable: CD
Reminds me of Eddie and the Cruisers for some reason, and that may be bad to you but for me it rules. It’s some good ol’ fashioned pop punk and, go figure, that’s probably because Dan Vapid (Screeching Weasel, Riverdales) and Mike Byrne (Vindictives) played on this release. Some pop from the guys who know how to do it right. So why does it remind me of Eddie and the Cruisers? I don’t know. Probably because that’s really the only thing that came to mind, dick. Gabe Rock –Guest Contributor (Thick)


METHADONES, THE:
This Won't Hurt...: CD
I’ll be honest, as much as i liked last year’s Power Pop Riot LP ((and i liked it a lot)), the previous non-power-pop-cover Methadones never really connected with me—it always sounded like a cross between Bad Religion and Dillinger 4 or something, i dunno. I am unaware of what exact twists and turns the band’s creative toilet snake bent itself through over the course of the last few years, but, suddenly, i am confronted with the wholly unexpected finding that the Methadones are actually fucking RELEVANT to my life inasmuch as they are singing about the type of shit that people who listened to Screeching Weasel or the Riverdales ten or fifteen years ago would actually care about now that they are ten or fifteen years older. Who fucking knew that it was within pop-punk’s molecular structure to mature along with its audience and practitioners? Even more unexpectedly, what were the odds that Vapid would turn out to be the smart one of the bunch? Weird world, man. Thanks for this, i dig it. Now put out another fucking cover album, dorks! BEST SONG: “Street in My Hometown” if i’m feeling nice, “Poor Little Rich Girl” if i’m not so inclined. BEST SONG TITLE: “Where Did You Hide the Sun,” although, now that i think about it, that’s kind of emo. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Actually, if Vapid is just now realizing that the traffic in Chicago sucks, he might not be the warmest tater in the microwave after all… –Rev. Norb (Red Scare)


METHADONES, THE:
Ill at Ease: CD
Man, I can’t fuckin’ believe how uncannily The Methadones aurally resemble Bad Religion before BR sold their souls to the major label big boys. This grandslam CD illustriously possesses all of the frenetic grandeur ofSuffer, No Control, Against the Grain, and Generator. The songs are intricately structured, tight, cohesive, and perfectly sculpted – melodious, yet drenched with intelligence, attitude, and disquieting inner rage. The vocalist has Greg Graffin’s indignant monotone down to a tee, precisely enunciating each syllable and spitting it out with obvious disdain for the world around him. The soaring starburst harmonies are thickly layered with abrupt strafings of sky-rocketing guitar leads, bone-shattering rhythm guitar crunch, bazooka-blast fieriness from the bass’s low-end roar, and explosive mortar-shell drum wallops. Gimme another beer. Fuck heroin. I’ve got The Methadones! -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (A-F)


METHADONES, THE:
Career Objective: CD

Another release from the old pop punk dynasty! Here we have Dan Vapid’s latest effort, with all its Mass Giorgini production and pop punk yumminess. Decent pop punk, heavy on the rock end of things, no surprises here. This is Golden Grahams.

–Maddy (Thick)


METHADONES, THE:
Gary Glitter: 7"
Being a big Briefs fan, the first thing this 7” reminded me of was their song, “Gary Glitter’s Eyes,” (although their song was a play off of The Adverts’ “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes.”) Gary Glitter being the famous glam rock musician who is known for the popular sporting event song “Rock’n’roll.” He was convicted for having child porn on his computer and then again for committing obscene acts with minors. The Methadones tackle the pedophile songwriting affair by giving a nod to Glitter-esque rock riffs while their lyrics expound on the precarious situation of Mr. Glitter. The second song on the vinyl, “Over the Moon,” returns to classic Methadones power pop punk song writing as they deliver catchy riffs infused with melodic vocals. The songs here are fun but the cover art is still probably the best part of this record. It has Glitter in sparkly, red-sequined attire, posing with his face brimming with a cheeky rock’n’roll gaze. –N.L. Dewart (It's Alive)


METHADONES, THE:
Self-titled: 7”
The great thing about The Methadones is their uncanny ability to make polished pop punk songs and somehow pull it off without ever sounding too sanitized. However, this two-track 7” serves up gobs and gobs of layered cheese. Their sound here really resembles the worst parts of modern MxPx. –N.L. Dewart (Underground Communiqué, undercomm.bigcartel.com)


MEXICAN BLACKBIRDS:
Fear of Texas: 12” EP
Smear on some Motards grease and resin, huff some gas with early Zeke, add the smell of burning hair, squeeze and screw in the punk’n’roll pyrotechnic sensibility of The B-Movie Rats, and you’ve got a close approximation of the Mexican Blackbirds. It’s in the red, the vocalist sounds just short of being strangulated, and it feels like their instruments are stabbing you in the chest while slicing your tendons so there’s no easy retreat. They’ve definitely learned assault tactics of their own and aren’t just pickpocketing the bands previous mentioned. Good stuff. It’s growing on me with each listen. –Todd Taylor (Mortville)


MEXICAN BLACKBIRDS:
Just to Spite You: CD
Solid, straight-ahead punk rock, long on ‘tude and short on extraneous bullshit. Ladies and gentlemen, meet my favorite band of the month. Highly recommended. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dirtnap)


MEXICAN BLACKBIRDS, THE:
Ain: 7" EP
I spent an unduly large amount of time mentally censuring this band for sounding at least moderately Pagans-y, yet not being clueful enough to realize that the song title "Ain't Got the Time" was already taken by those selfsame Pagans; eventual double-checking showed that the Pagans song of similar nomenclature is actually called "HAVEN'T Got The time" and i regret the error (i also regret the fact that the other three songs on this record aren't covers of "Haven't Got the Time," "Got the Time" by Joe Jackson, and "When I Get the Time" by the Descendents, simply because that would be kinda funny) (we'll let the Chambers Brothers go unmentioned for now). Four songs from a five-piece, sounding like a cross between something the Chargers mighta done once (besides trading away the rights to Michael Vick) and some of the heavier, less-cartoony Rip Off bands of yore (i'm tempted to say the Stipjes, but i actually no longer remember what that band sounded like), with the occasional background blurt by the female drummer adding sort of a superficial Loli & The Chones garnish to things. Good but not superlative, as evinced by the fact that i can't think of a decent joke to end with that doesn't involve invoking mental imagery of a Hispanic singing "Blackbird" by the Beatles. BEST SONG TITLE: "Blackout (With You)" BEST SONG: "Blackout (With You)" FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Record label carries the message "PLAY LOUD." Hey, thanks for the tip, Slick.
–Rev. Norb (Mexican Blackbirds)


MEXICAN BLACKBIRDS/PINK SWORDS:
Black Vinyl Revenge, Chapter 1: Split LP
The title line here sounds like some sketchy urban legend from a fictional city across the border made into a ‘50s so-bad-you-love-it exploitation flick. This record is also that cool. It combines previous CD releases: The Birds’ Just to Spite You (2003, Dirtnap) with The Swords’ One Night High (2003, Mortville). The music fetish factor gets even higher: both have amazing girl drummers from other great bands (Jill from Valentine Killers, Suzy Motard), half-black and half-pink vinyl, and one new live track from each band. Catchy, hard-driving rock. Entire albums on each side, except the Birds’ “Burn It Down/Over the Edge” track from the CD is not here. Alas, still an awesome record. –Speedway Randy (Rockin’ Bones)


MEXICAN CHEERLEADER:
Self-titled: CD
Loud, guitar-heavy rawk with lotsa heart, but something is getting lost in the translation for me. No offense is meant here, as there is nothing tangibly wrong, per se, with this release, but some bands come across better live and I think these guys are one of those bands. –Jimmy Alvarado (Government Music)


MEZCAL BROS., THE:
“Brunette Baby” b/w “Nobody Else But You”: 7"
The Mezcal Brothers play traditional rockabilly that is a million times preferable to the awful sounds made by any current psychobilly band. That doesn’t mean these songs are up there with Joe South’s “I’m Snowed” or Jeff Daniel’s “Daddy-O-Rock,” but they make for good background music and have some nice guitar leads. It’s well played and executed, if not exactly memorable. –Josh Benke (Speed! Nebraska)


MEZKLAH:
Spider Monkey: CD
Hoo doggie, my buddy Donofthedead is gonna shit blue Twinkies when he hears this bad boy. Two – count ‘em – two guys, one on vocals and one on guitar (with the help of a drum machine), unleash one mutha of a mélange of hip hop, dub, ragamuffin, trance, funk, Cuban son, psychedelia – hell, damn near every style that has made the rounds through the underground, all served up with a healthy dose of punk rock “love us, hate us, but you ain’t gonna ignore us” attitude. Mind you, they ain’t mining the above musical styles by settling on one style for one song and then another the next. Au contraire, these guys are not only smooshing all these styles together into one raucous gumbo of sound on nearly EVERY TRACK, they are making it work: soaring guitars layered on top of Cuban piano forms fueled by the staccato of reggae, with some mighty fine, often bilingual, lyrics served up inna dancehall style, all of it slathered over a drum ‘n’ bass backbeat. This is some very creative, very heady stuff that works on a variety of levels, which is a polite way of saying yes, the booty can be shook quite nicely to it, but you just might find yourself thinking, too, if you don’t watch out. This is easily my pick of the issue and, quite possibly, of 2003.  –Jimmy Alvarado (www.mezklah.com)


MHz:
Increase the Voltage: CD
From what I gather, these are the complete recordings of this band. Not sure why it took so long to get released or why they only put out a 7” while they were a band, because this is pretty damn great. It finds a nice middle ground between the Tyrades and the Baseball Furies, which is a pretty nice place to be. There’s also a weird computer theme going on, like Servotron, but not as funny. Where was I when they were around? –Josh (Flying Bomb)


MI6:
Lunchbox: CD
Generic. I’m not at the TV watching MTV and I still hear Blink 182, New Found Glory, or Good Charlotte. –Donofthedead (Kung Fu)


MIA :
Lost Boys: CD
I’ve been sitting here for two days trying to convey what a great thing Alternative Tentacles has done by making the tracks on this release available once again. MIA was simply one of the best punk/hardcore bands that ever graced a stage, period. They were a perfect hybrid of the hardcore that was coming out of DC in the early ‘80s and OC/HB’s “beach punk” sound of the same time period, or, to put it more succinctly, they sounded like the bastard offspring of Minor Threat and the Adolescents. Yet, rather than be mere shadows of their influences, they took those sounds and forged a sound entirely their own, one that was hard and fast yet instantly hummable. As if good music wasn’t enough, they also took time to make their lyrics both substantive and well written, something that was often as rare then as it is now. Submitted for your aural pleasure are the “Murder in a Foreign Place” EP, their side of the “Last Rites” split LP, tracks from various compilations, live material, early and late-period demos and other goodies. My suggestion to you, loyal reader, is to buy three copies of this (in case two get worn out) and crank “Boredom is the Reason,” “Murder in a Foreign Place” and “Fucking Zones” as loud as your stereo will allow. Make sure that you have a cassette copy for the police to blast on the way to the station when they take you in for disturbing the peace, too. Believe me, they’ll thank you for it later. God (or pick your deity of choice) bless Alternative Tentacles for this disc and God bless MIA for leaving us some timeless, kick-ass tuneage. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alternative Tentacles)


MICHAEL JORDAN TOUCHDOWN PASS:
Cash, Money, Etc.: CD
Gotta say, when I saw the crayoned cover, noticed that MJTP was one of those projects where one guy sings and plays all the instruments, and noted that it was co-released on Plan-It-X, I was steeling myself for some shitty folk singer blathering away about anarchism in only the basest and most idealistic, simplistic way. Yet again, that’s what I get for judging stuff prematurely, because what I’m hearing is a younger, ragged (though some might say more vulnerable or honest) version of the Weakerthans. I mean, on songs like “Sedan-Sized Truck” and “Ill-Planned, Feeling III,” this kid is an absolute dead-ringer for Weakerthans crooner John Samson, even at times using his exact same sense of meter and alliteration. And that’s a good thing: this guy’s onto something—he’s borrowing heavily at times but there’s too much passion and focused intent here to call it stealing, you know? Acoustic guitar, keyboards, minimal percussion, layered vocals—the songs are deceptively simple, but there’s some incredibly catchy moments on here and the lyrics somehow come across as both cynical and joyous, and all-around razor-smart. Is it punk? Depends on how you look at it, I guess. Is it sincere, memorable, and just pretty much awesome? Yeah, there’s definitely that. –Keith Rosson (Plan-It-X)


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