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One Punks Guide to Pinball, by Kayla Greet
Razorcake #92
Spokenest, Gone, Gone, Gone LP
Pinned In Place, Ghostwritten By LP
Razorcake #91


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No Idea Records

Record Reviews

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MELVINS, THE:
Hostile Ambient Takeover: CD
Jeezusss!! The fuggin’ Melvins are a bomb in the subway. Total sonic destruction, ear splitting guitars and drums to turn your brain to mush. The best thing they’ve done lately, and obliterates all the bands trying to stand in their shadow. My year-old son can’t get enough of this disc. The future looks bright. –Matt Average (Ipecac)


MELVINS/LUSTMORD:
Pigs of the Roman Empire: CD
No notes came with this, so I’m speculating in a second: I think Lustmord is an old industrial outfit or guy who’s probably been on the underground music scene even longer than the Melvins, and who here apparently remixes some parts of some new Melvins songs in the direction of ambience, while the new Melvins songs themselves, when not being remixed, are top-notch riffy Melvins fare, some of the best I’ve heard in years. Perfect for every mood there is, including: excited, sleepy, sulky, beaming, wistful, hungry, and stung by a bee. –Cuss Baxter (Ipecac)


MEMBERS:
At the Chelsea Nightclub & 1980-The Choice is Yours: CD
The Members were one of those groups that kinda fell into the gray area between punk and what was called new wave, being a tad too gruff and “street” for the skinny tie crowd and too musically sophisticated to be easily lumped in with the great mohawked unwashed. Nonetheless, they managed some popularity, due in no small part to the fact that that had some really good tunes that drew from the same influences and were as diverse in sound as anything The Clash ever did—and yet sound only remotely like them. These reissues of their first two albums feature some of the group’s best work, from punk anthems like “Solitary Confinement,” “Sound of the Suburbs,” and “Muzak Machine” to reggae-spiked ditties like “Offshore Banking Business” (which the band played live in the movie Urgh, A Music War) and “Clean Men.” Of course, Captain Oi has added assorted singles tracks and alternate versions to each reissue, including a personal favorite, “GLC,” a punk raver that rivals your average oi tune and was featured on the Rock Against Racism comp many moons ago, and the simply marvy “Disco Oui Oui,” which is exactly what its title implies. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


MEMBERS:
At the Chelsea Nightclub and 1980-The Choice is Yours: CD
The Members were one of those groups that kinda fell into the gray area between punk and what was called new wave, being a tad too gruff and “street” for the skinny tie crowd and too musically sophisticated to be easily lumped in with the great mohawked unwashed. Nonetheless, they managed some popularity, due in no small part to the fact that that had some really good tunes that drew from the same influences and were as diverse in sound as anything The Clash ever did—and yet sound only remotely like them. These reissues of their first two albums feature some of the group’s best work, from punk anthems like “Solitary Confinement,” “Sound of the Suburbs,” and “Muzak Machine” to reggae-spiked ditties like “Offshore Banking Business” (which the band played live in the movie Urgh, A Music War) and “Clean Men.” Of course, Captain Oi has added assorted singles tracks and alternate versions to each reissue, including a personal favorite, “GLC,” a punk raver that rivals your average oi tune and was featured on the Rock Against Racism comp many moons ago, and the simply marvy “Disco Oui Oui,” which is exactly what its title implies. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


MEMBERS, THE:
Uprhythm, Downbeat: CD
This reissue of the band’s third and final album sees them veer away from the reggae-tinged punk of their early years and embrace the world-funk fusion sound popularized by bands like Talking Heads. The result is very ‘80s sounding, with lots of horns and at certain points actually sounding a bit like Oingo Boingo, with more than a passing interest in African rhythms. Although this might sound scary to most, the result is a surprisingly strong album, which actually shouldn’t be that much of a surprise considering how consistently good the Members had been on prior endeavors. This may not be “punk” to some, but it is quite a good listen nonetheless. Fans of ‘80s pop would be wise to note that two versions of the band’s American hit, “Working Girl” can be found here. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


MEMBRANES, THE:
Kiss Ass, Godhead: CD
So far as I’m able to tell, this is a re-release of an album that came out 12 years ago. This is one of those bands I’d always heard of but never actually took the time to listen to, primarily ’cause I always thought they were one o’ them Crass-type bands and I hated Crass back then. Well, I’m kicking myself in the ass pretty hard right about now, ’cause this disc let me know exactly what I missed out on. This was produced by Albini back in his Big Black daze and the overall sound is reminiscent of that period. I guess this stuff would be called “post-punk,” and it has all the trappings: razorwire-sounding guitar, rumbly bass, lotsa “space” in the sound and all, but the songs are well realized and are catchy in a weird way. I guess I’ve got a new band whose back catalog I must search out. –jimmy (Overground)


MEMORIAL:
Self-titled: LP
Dude, when the ‘90s come back in vogue and everyone starts paying outrageous prices for Sub Pop singles and “authentic” grunge-approved flannel shirts, these guys are gonna make millions. –jimmy (Flight Plan, no address)


MEMORIALS, THE:
Delirium: CD
When talking about creative endeavors, knowing how to do something—for example play an instrument or sing—can be a bit dicey. On the one hand, one wants to be proficient enough to be able to deftly execute whatever it is you’re doing. On the other hand, knowing too much or how to do something too well can also hamper one’s ability to create without having everything instead drown in technique, form, and all sorts of other shiny doohickeys. It’s clear pretty much from the first note that the two folks responsible for this are more than equipped and capable of playing instruments well—both are Berklee College of Music graduates and at least one has been in a band many folks know by name, at the very least. The performances here are damned good. The problem, however, is that many different ideas—jazz, punk, funk, R&B, and plain cerebral noodling—are thrown at the listener with no cohesion or solid foundation on which to lay it all. Many good ideas are tossed out into the ether, but one is not well matched with the next and built on a song structure that can hold it all together. Crunching that many disparate influences is not impossible—Butthole Surfers, Fishbone, Big Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slits, The Pop Group and many others have made some interesting racket along the same path—but it does take considerably more work to pull it off than just knowing how to play really goddamned good. A lot here hints at potential greatness, but the best plan would be to regroup and start simple with a few good ideas for whole songs and then run ‘em through the filter. –jimmy (Bloodthirsty Unicorn)


MEMORIES, THE:
American Summer: 7” EP
The Memories are definitely not my cup of tea. The six songs included on this release are nostalgic American pop rock tunes that remind me of an old cheesy movie soundtrack from the hippie ‘60s. Every song has soft, gentle instrumentation with dreamy, calming vocals. The title of the record sums up the material quite nicely. I just wish it was from a summer from my childhood, not my Dad’s. I guess I wasn’t invited in on the joke? –Brent Nimz (Randy)


MEMORY MAP:
The Sky As Well As Space: LP
Memory Map is a band based out of Bloomington, Indiana. I used to live in Bloomington for a few years. Sometimes when I think back on those times, I’m either like, “Ugh” or “Fun!” I went to visit Bloomington last summer and after I left I was like, “Meh.” But despite my mono-syllabic reactions to the city, this college town has something about it that allows for some great bands. This keeps me from souring on it entirely. The four men that make up Memory Map are another great reason to keep from feeling totally disaffected about the place. The band is comprised of three guitarists and a drummer, with various members singing. Some might recognize a few of the members: Matt Tobey used to play in Abe Froman and does a solo project called Matty Pop Chart; Mike Dixon has played in Prayer Breakfast, Rep Seki, and Rapider Than Horsepower; and Mike Bridavsky is the owner of the famous internet cat, Lil Bub. Besides Dixon’s vocals sounding similar to what he did with Prayer Breakfast, Memory Map doesn’t sound like any of those other acts. It’s actually math rock indie pop. There are lots of twists and turns in the intricate guitar work and Dixon’s vocals are smooth and go down easy. It reminds me of what The Rutabega would sound like if they played math rock and had another guitar player or two. The twelve songs on The Sky As Well As Space clock in at thirty-six minutes, which is a satisfying length for the sound. While the music could’ve just been a simple guitar and drums lineup, the band chose to add depth through the occasional use of piano, strings, bongos, and huge choir-like background vocals. While they probably can’t reproduce this sound live, on the album it keeps things alive and interesting from track to track. The front half of the album is stronger and more intricate, with songs like “Dark Freshman” and “Words as Water” being standouts. The back half of the albums slows down and is more pop than math rock, but, on the whole, it’s solid. It deserves many repeated listens to explore the full extent of the sound. Bloomington does it again. Fun!  –kurt (Joyful Noise)


MEMPHIS BEATLES:
Elvis Meets the Beatles (Soundtrack): 10"
I love the Beatles, can tolerate Elvis, and have a higher tolerance for kitsch than your average Razorcake reviewer, all of which gives me a good chance to dig Elvis Meets the Beatles, the soundtrack to the short film of the same name. The liner notes claim that the record “outdoes the Rutles with an original score performed by all four Memphis Beatles.” I trust that the Memphis Beatles, whoever they may be, did, in fact, record this 10” but assure you that they pale compared to the Rutles (or the Kaisers or the Neatbeats or any other decent Beatle clones you care to mention). They did provide competent instrumental tracks that worked well enough to make me curious about the movie, though. Mike Faloon –Guest Contributor (Lady Kinky Karrot)


MEMPHIS MORTICIANS:
1,000,000 Delinquents: CD
NYC’s Memphis Morticians can do no wrong—reliable, good fun that never disappoints, reminiscent of the Devil Dogs. The only departure on this album from their usual loose, trashy garage/American psychobilly mix is “Spook Factor,” which reminds me of the Guana Batz. There are only seven tracks, and they’re all standouts. –thiringer (Space Hearse, memphismorticians.com)


MEMPHIS RADIO KINGS:
The Devil's Dutchman: CD
Alternative rock with a country twang. If this were the early '80s and Slash were still an active label, they would've snatched these guys up in a heartbeat, and "God As My Waitress" would've been a huge underground hit. Made me nostalgic for a scene I didn't even think I missed. –jimmy (Hot Stack)


MEMPHIS RADIO KINGS:
Four: CD
Less emphasis on a country twang here than on their previous release, but they’re still heavily mining early-‘80s Slash Records alt-rock land, with more than a slight nod to later Replacements. For what it is, it ain’t too shabby. –jimmy (www.memphisradiokings.com)


MEMPHIS RADIO KINGS:
The Devil’s Dutchman: CD
Alternative rock with a country twang. If this were the early ‘80s and Slash were still an active label, they would’ve snatched these guys up in a heartbeat, and “God As My Waitress” would’ve been a huge underground hit. Made me nostalgic for a scene I didn’t even think I missed. –jimmy (Hot Stack)


MEN FROM S.P.E.C.T.R.E.:
Burnout for Davie: 7"
Instrumental '60s rock. –jimmy (www.sheeprecords.com)


MEN FROM S.P.E.C.T.R.E.:
Burnout for Davie: 7"
Instrumental '60s rock. –jimmy (Sheep Records)


MEN, THE:
We Are the Men: 12"
This record is leaving me a bit perplexed. It has some good qualities—blown-out guitars, solid rhythm section, incomprehensible vocals, a song called “Sketchy Pussy.” It also has some not-so-good qualities—riffs that are too repetitive and predictable, and a song called “The Man” that has a crappy intro and sentimental, emo vocal tone. I can’t tell if they aspire to Brainbombs heights or Promise Ring’s first album lows. It’s time for a band meeting, The Men, where you can sort out your sonic direction and move forward accordingly. Until then, the jury is out (and listening to Mayyors). –benke (Self-released, wearethemen.blogspot.com)


MENACE:
Crisis: CD
The Menace were kind of a second tier oi band, never really getting as popular as Cocksparrer or the Business, but they did have a hit song in the mid-seventies with “GLC” (which is a killer song and I imagine it probably means more in England now, if I can trust the news I read about England and Tony Blair these days). Anyway, rather than falling into the metal trap that so many oi bands fell into in the eighties, Menace broke up and went back to work. With the renewed popularity of oi, Menace came back, re-releasing their big songs, “GLC” and “Society’s Insane,” and some new ones, like “Society’s Still Insane.” So they weren’t really growing and expanding musically, but it’s solid, sincere music. The songs are really cool working class anthems, smart and simple politics, and thick Cockney accented vocals. I’ve actually got a couple of these songs on seven inches from Europe, but most of these songs are new to me and would probably be new to you. And believe me when I say that this Menace album kicks ass all over the newest Business and Cocksparrer releases. –sean (Captain Oi)


MENACE:
Punk Singles Collection: CD
Some things I learned about Menace by listening to this CD: 1) They actually go back to 1977. Dunno why it never occurred to me that they would have roots that friggin’ deep. In truth, I figured they made the scene around 1979 or so, after Sham made their big splash. 2) According to their website, they actually predate Sham 69. Go fuggin’ figure. I always though it was the other way around, as evidenced by the end of the previous number. 3) Their singles have remained consistently good slices of bootboy punk, from the first to the most recent featured here. All the hits are present, including “GLC,” “Screwed Up,” “Insane Society,” and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that you will find many more tunes you’ve never heard to love over the course of listening to this. One of the best, these guys were, and are due the reverence they receive here. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


MENACE:
Rogue's Gallery: CD
Pretty by-the-numbers pub-punk from these onetime GLC haters. While they never come within the neighborhood of the intensity of their early work, it ain’t bad as far as “classic band gives it another go” releases go. Their lyrics remain street-level political without getting preachy and there are enough hooks here to keep your average Cock Sparrer fan listening. Smart move getting the vocalist from Resistance 77 to front the band, too. –jimmy (Captain Oi)


MENACE:
Crisis: CD
The Menace were kind of a second tier oi band, never really getting as popular as Cocksparrer or the Business, but they did have a hit song in the mid-seventies with “GLC” (which is a killer song and I imagine it probably means more in England now, if I can trust the news I read about England and Tony Blair these days). Anyway, rather than falling into the metal trap that so many oi bands fell into in the eighties, Menace broke up and went back to work. With the renewed popularity of oi, Menace came back, re-releasing their big songs, “GLC” and “Society’s Insane,” and some new ones, like “Society’s Still Insane.” So they weren’t really growing and expanding musically, but it’s solid, sincere music. The songs are really cool working class anthems, smart and simple politics, and thick Cockney accented vocals. I’ve actually got a couple of these songs on seven inches from Europe, but most of these songs are new to me and would probably be new to you. And believe me when I say that this Menace album kicks ass all over the newest Business and Cocksparrer releases. –sean (Captain Oi)


MENACE:
London Stories: CD
These U.K. punkers are back with a new full length that bristles with energy and delivers on the promise of their earliest singles. “Vote Punk Rock” and the title track are standouts on this one. Fiery guitars, pounding drums, and rousing vocals make this a classic return to form. Highly recommended. –Aaron Zonka (Self-released, menace.punk@yahoo.co.uk)


MENEGUAR:
I Was Born at Night: CDEP
This is by far my favorite review this month. Driving, angular, indie post-rock. Thick bass and jagged guitars that soar at times. From NYC, this four-piece remind me of Gang of Four, At the Drive-In, the Fall, early Interpol—and therefore Joy Division—and Dinosaur Jr. One string guitar solos are where it’s at. This EP is worth a listen. –Buttertooth (Magicbullet)


MENEGUAR:
Strangers in Our House: CD
I used to get Meneguar and Japanther confused, but having finally heard Meneguar, I will definitely remember them now. This second full-length from the New York band is a fun mix of indie rock and power pop. All the music has a real upbeat tone to it; there’s nothing to bring you down or make you feel depressed. Like a solid pop punk album, there’s a good amount of hooks and catchiness, but without a wanky sound (both production-wise and with more backbone to the music) attributed to much of that genre. And if you’re familiar with the kind of material Troubleman has released before, it is a good fit with the rest of the catalog. It’s a serious work, though, and is a solid release. It’s not going to change the face of music, but it’s definitely worth a listen and probably a spot in your collection. –kurt (Troubleman Unlimited)


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