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Record Reviews

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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)


MICHAEL KORB:
Two of Me: CD
Out of New York, this trio led by frontman, Korb, has switched out the acoustic guitar for electric and has incorporated effects pedals. While “Bell Jar” borrows from Sigur Ros’s soaring guitar notes, the likeness ends there. Korb, who has an impressive voice, uses contrived vocal structures and boring guitar arrangements to populate this eleven track album. This is more like Rufus Wainwright without the piano and poppy tunes. As I’m not a fan of singer-songwriter formulas, your mileage may vary. –Kristen K (Winged Disk, wingeddiskrecords.com)


MICHAEL RAULT AND THE MIXED SIGNALS:
Self-titled: CD-R
Was ready to write this off because it was a CD-R. But this is not half bad. A psychobilly/ rockabilly mix of the Cramps meets Screamin' Jay Hawkins. The guy in the picture doesn't look old enough to get into a bar, but his music would make you believe he is much older. –Donofthedead (do_the_dog@hotmail.com)


MICHAEL YONKERS / LITTLE CLAW:
Split: 7"33
Mr. Yonkers is a sexagenarian rocker who has been fucking with sonic nutziness since birth, delivering two echoey, reverby, slabs that sound like a meat tenderizer going apeshit in a reverb coil factory ((if there is actually no such thing as a “reverb coil,” i regret the error)). The female-fronted Little Claw play the type of squeaky drone that clears venues quickly and effectively until the next band comes on. Excellent for misleading wayward Fire Marshals! BEST SONG: Michael Yonkers, “The Drain” BEST SONG TITLE: Michael Yonkers, “I Think” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Michael Yonkers’ 1968 album, “Microminiature Love,” was recorded in one hour. –Rev. Norb (X!)


MICHALE GRAVES:
Illusions Live/Viretta Park: CD
If Danzig is Evil Elvis, then Michale Graves is… Evil Neil Diamond? This is an acoustic album featuring a live set and a brief studio session. The music is solemn, dark, and a little self-serious. I could see a metal dude playing this on his headphones while passing a wintry graveyard that he once walked through with an ex. A few of the tracks are acoustic adaptations of songs that Graves sang with the reformed Misfits in the second half of the ‘90s. His involvement with the Newfits and the Conservative Punk movement will be deal breakers for some, but this album ain’t that bad, and you ghouls out there might want a copy, for those introspective, autumnal times. –CT Terry (Screaming Crow)


MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT, THEE:
Gear Blues: CD
Extremely LOUD Japanese trash rock. The press materials allude to Billy Childish as an influence, but I don't hear it as much I do the Cramps and others I can't quite think of right now. Hell, I gotta lay off of them there allergy pills, 'cause they seem to be messin' up my short term.... Whatever. Either way, this is some screamin' mad shit here, all sludgy, dirty and fuckin' loud, man. I think they're singin' in English, but it's damn hard to tell. I'm recommending this disc for two reasons: 1) The songs are mighty nice, and 2) Playin' it at excessive volume levels is sure to kill all rats, insects and small dogs in a square mile radius around the speakers. Oh, wait.... Silly me, I accidentally had the stereo runnin' through my guitar amp. Well, I still like it, even if it ain't as loud as I thought it was. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alive/Total Energy, PO Box 7712, Burbank, CA 91510)


MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT, THEE:
Collection: CD
During the past couple of years, it seems as if I’ve read countless flattery-packed articles zealously praising the roarin’ rock’n’roll splendor of Thee Michelle Gun Elephant. I unfortunately hadn’t been exposed to their manic eruptions of musical madness until bodacious lil’ Betsy Palmer (promo princess extraordinaire at the aurally eclectic Bomp HQ) sent this ear-scorcher of a disc to me several days ago (thanks so very much, Betsy dear!). Hot diggedy dog damn, now I know why TMGE have rightfully warranted all of the frenzied fuss! They noisily, raucously, and enthusiastically create a garagey post-punk cacophony of high-spirited rock’n’roll fierceness... it’s hyperactively swarming with a charismatic over-abundance of energetically uplifting originality and inimitable uniqueness! Oh man, I can only describe this eardrum-batterin’ quartet as a four-headed nuclear-spawned reptilian monster sonically rampagin’ through the smolderin’ remains of The Who (circa 1965-67), The Stooges, Husker Du, Agent Orange, a harder-edged PIL in certain places, Mission Of Burma, The Makers, and even a bit of Dicks and Big Boys (with a spicey stirring of Chuck Berry riffage tossed throughout). After only one listen to this gut-pummelling platter of joy, it blew the fuckin’ enamel off my teeth in 30 seconds flat! –Guest Contributor (Alive)


MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT, THEE:
Gear Blues: CD
Extremely LOUD Japanese trash rock. The press materials allude to Billy Childish as an influence, but I don't hear it as much I do the Cramps and others I can't quite think of right now. Hell, I gotta lay off of them there allergy pills, 'cause they seem to be messin' up my short term.... Whatever. Either way, this is some screamin' mad shit here, all sludgy, dirty and fuckin' loud, man. I think they're singin' in English, but it's damn hard to tell. I'm recommending this disc for two reasons: 1) The songs are mighty nice, and 2) Playin' it at excessive volume levels is sure to kill all rats, insects and small dogs in a square mile radius around the speakers. Oh, wait.... Silly me, I accidentally had the stereo runnin' through my guitar amp. Well, I still like it, even if it ain't as loud as I thought it was. –Jimmy Alvarado (Alive/Total Energy)


MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT, THEE:
Gear Blues: CD
Just as Guitar Wolf re‑interpreted Gene Vincent style cool and MC5 flash in a kitschy, fun way, thee Michelle Gun Elephant, in a strange new twist, crosses the animalistic passion of the Stooges with the rigid NYC composure of the Ramones to produce this furious blend of rockin' sukiyaki. On CD, anyway, this made in Japan quartet howls, writhes and rolls like demon possessed samurai for fourteen tracks and the syntax of the lyrics isn't nearly as bizarre as you might expect. –Guest Contributor (Alive/Total Energy)


MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT,THEE:
Gear Blues: CD
Just as Guitar Wolf re-interpreted Gene Vincent style cool and MC5 flash in a kitschy, fun way, thee Michelle Gun Elephant, in a strange new twist, crosses the animalistic passion of the Stooges with the rigid NYC composure of the Ramones to produce this furious blend of rockin' sukiyaki. On CD, anyway, this made in Japan quartet howls, writhes and rolls like demon possessed samurai for fourteen tracks and the syntax of the lyrics isn't nearly as bizarre as you might expect. –Bob Cantu (Alive/Total Energy, PO Box 7712, Burbank, CA 91510)


MICK FARREN AND ANDY COLQUHOUN:
Black Vinyl Dress: CD
Black Vinyl Dress is amazing in its horribleness. This seriously flabbergasts me. It’s as though the actor Alan Rickman (Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the villain in Die Hard)—the similarity of the voice is uncanny—got drunk, dropped acid, channeled whatever emotions he got from watching Apocalypse Now, wrote really bad Jim Morrison-inspired poetry and recited it with a nondescript band backing him. They then recorded an album and here I am, listening to it. I seriously can’t stop laughing at every track, because I can’t stop imagining a drunk and high Alan Rickman as the lead singer. Incredible.  –Kurt Morris (Gonzo Multimedia)


MICKEY:
She’s So Crazy: 7”
From the grimy north side streets of Chicago comes Mickey, a ramshackle five-piece rock’n’roll band who deliver a swaggering blast of glittery gutter glam and an earnest “this is who I am, warts and all” ballad. “She’s So Crazy” is damn near perfect: a maddeningly catchy guitar hook, bouncy bass line, superb drumming, and vocals, a la Mac Blackout, that sound far crazier than the accused “She” in the title. The desperate obsession of the chorus seems to indicate that maybe, just maybe, the singer is projecting his insanity onto his object of desire: “and when she walks in the room/I go into a trance/if she would just give my love/just give my love one chance/but I ain’t stalkin’ and I ain’t stuck on you.” What does stick is this tune. In your head. For weeks. The B side, “I Am Your Trash, I Am Your Man,” sways along sweetly while the lyrics detail the heel-like behavior of the singer. He talks about drinking, getting into it with his girl, being rotten and not understanding why she loves him, finally exploding with the defiant proclamation “I am your trash/I am your man.” A touchingly menacing masterpiece. –Josh Benke (Horizontal Action)


MICKEY:
Rock 'n' Roll Dreamer: CD
A little bit o’ lo-fi, a little bit o’ glam rock, a smidge o’ theatricality, and a lotta chutzpah make for some interesting listening here. They love their rock with hooks and ain’t ashamed to aim for the fences. Gotta respect that. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hozac, hozacrecords.com)


MICO:
Outside the Unbearable Grows: CD
Emo/ alternative rock stuff that doesn’t stand out from any other band doing this, except that this is on G7, so I guess it’s left wing emo/ alternative rock stuff. I care lots. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (G7 Welcoming Committee)


MICO DE NOCHE:
Stereo Test Record: CD-R
From the looks of this artwork, I was expecting some kind of Throbbing Gristle-type noise. Unfortunately, I was not that lucky (lucky?). I got three songs that sound like White Zombie or something. I can barely contain my enthusiasm. On a personal note, this exited my CD player and was quickly followed by Los Crudos. -Not Josh –Staff (www.micodenoche.com)


MICO DE NOCHE:
Balls Deep: CD
Nice’n’sludgy rock/punk stuff here: very noisy with flamenco flourishes here and there. Wasn’t expecting much, so it was a pleasant surprise that it wasn’t half bad. –Jimmy Alvarado (Violent Hippie)


MICO DE NOCHE:
Stereo Test Record: CD-R
From the looks of this artwork, I was expecting some kind of Throbbing Gristle-type noise. Unfortunately, I was not that lucky (lucky?). I got three songs that sound like White Zombie or something. I can barely contain my enthusiasm. On a personal note, this exited my CD player and was quickly followed by Los Crudos. –Not Josh –Guest Contributor (www.micodenoche.com)


MICROPHONES, THE:
The Glow, pt. 2: CD
I thought I had never heard the Microphones before, but I’m sure they must have slipped into my ears through the college radio soundwaves. They are the mixture of Bright Eyes, Belle and Sebastian, a little bit of Radiohead, and a pinch of one of those bands you might have seen play at a coffee house in the early nineties (you know, the ones with all the feedback and acoustic guitar). Very poetic. Very sincere. Very intriguing. –Harmonee (K)


MICROPHONES, THE:
The Glow, pt. 2: CD
I thought I had never heard the Microphones before, but I’m sure they must have slipped into my ears through the college radio soundwaves. They are the mixture of Bright Eyes, Belle and Sebastian, a little bit of Radiohead, and a pinch of one of those bands you might have seen play at a coffee house in the early nineties (you know, the ones with all the feedback and acoustic guitar). Very poetic. Very sincere. Very intriguing. –Guest Contributor (K)


MICROTIA:
Distance Is Oval: CD

Evidently the band really wants people to know that their sound is what would happen if hardcore kids started smoking pot and listening to Led Zeppelin. Actually, I think there’s a number of them who already do that and don’t sound anything like this. Sometimes I hear a bit of the Deftones and there’s more of a melodic sound than a hard sound, that’s for sure. The primary fault of Microtia is the vocalist’s singing just doesn’t seem to match up well with the music. It seems a bit weak. I’d be interested in hearing the band hit the music part a bit harder and really bring out some power in the mix with a different singer. If they keep the vocalist, they should tone it down and have it be part of a style in which his vocals make for a better fit.

–Kurt Morris (Exigent, www.myspace.com/exigentrecords)


MIDAS FALL:
Eleven. Return and Revert: CD

This is what happens when you mix a slight bit of the Cranberries’ Delores Riordan with the music and female singer from Gregor Samsa and then throw in some Explosions In The Sky. Delicious.

 

–Kurt Morris (monotremerecords.com)


MIDAS FALL:
Wilderness: CD
Sarah McLaughlin on an ambien(t) trip. –Jimmy Alvarado (Monotreme)


MIDDLE AMERICA:
Scars: 7”
The title track, “Scars,” sounds a hell of a lot like Black Flag’s “Damaged,” with similar bass line, tempo, and distorted and twisted guitar sound. Some may think this is a good thing. But Middle America is no Black Flag. The playing is less intense, and despite all the screaming and growling, the urgency and desperation sounds a tad forced. The opener, “Every Night” starts off okay, then tends to lose its way and washes out with some feedback. “Reclusion” starts off with a dark and minimal tone similar to what the Birthday Party could achieve—plodding—then lurches into thrashy hardcore punk and is suddenly over. Of the three cuts on this record, this is the standout track. –Matt Average (Fashionable Idiots, fashionableidiots.com)


MIDDLE CLASS:
Out Of Vogue—The Early Material: CD
Kickass reissue of some of this Fullerton, CA band’s output. For the record, let me be clear: there is no filler here. Just one hundred percent hardcore. “Above Suspicion” and “A Blueprint For Joy” rock the hardest. But buy this release and you will crank every single one. Could a reunion be in the cards? I think they are all still alive, so who knows. Just be sure to tell Frontier thanks for making this one available to the masses again. –Sean Koepenick (Frontier)


MIDDLE CLASS MILE:
Self-titled: CD
Liberal doses of pop and emo are fused to a punk fuselage. While their efforts will no doubt garner them a record deal, they didn't sound all that different from all the other "new school" bands playing in the same sandbox. –Jimmy Alvarado (Two Four Dead)


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