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Record Reviews

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The Eye of Every Storm: CD
Long has it been since last I heard these guys, so long, in fact, that I’d completely forgotten what they sounded like. Thanks to this, it’s all coming back to me: sludgy, loud, looooooooooong noise rock that strangely fits right in to what’s making the rounds these days. Not my bag, which is probably why I forgot what they sounded like, but you gotta respect ‘em for sticking it out this long. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.neurosis.com)

Honor Found in Decay: CD/LP
Neurosis takes their sweet time in between albums. Honor Found in Decay is their tenth album in twenty-five years, and their first since Given to the Rising, released in 2007. Like past albums, the total number of songs on the album is few, but the length is still massive, as the seven songs on Honor Found in Decay clock in at sixty minutes. The shortest song is six minutes and the longest pushes the twelve-minute mark. It makes for grandiose movements as the band seeks an emotional release, for not only themselves but for the listener as well. The crushing riffs are still there, as is tribal drumming, and the harsh vocals. The keyboards add a lot of atmosphere and there are points where strings and other delicate arrangements allow for a good depth to the sound. This is a dark album, one that would most likely be best to soak in at night with the lights out in your bedroom. While it’s not as good as Through Silver in Blood or Times of Grace, Honor Found in Decay is a solid album and show why Neurosis are so respected and copied in the music scene. This is a must for any fan of the band. –Kurt Morris (neurotrecordings.com)

Sexy & Mysterious: CD
Uh, with regards to the song “I Killed Kennedy,” to which Kennedy do you refer? By the looks of you lot, the oldest one of you were at best burping up Enfamil when Bobby was still breathing, and Teddy’s still very much alive, as are TV goddess Jayne Kennedy and Penitentiary star Leon Isaac Kennedy. Last I checked, MTV host Kennedy had a pulse, although her career definitely seems moribund these days. In short, I’m perplexed and more than a little annoyed. Oh, and the whole “France’s answer to the Briefs” shtick ain’t cuttin’ it either, kids. –Jimmy Alvarado (Lollipop)

What’s Your Definition of Underground?: CD
Another new band tries to recapture that old punk rock energy and sound and fail miserably. Let’s have a hand for consistency! –Jimmy Alvarado (Lollipop)

Art Rats: CD
Derivative punk rock from the school of ‘77 influence, with embarrassingly bad English lyrics. Bet this would’ve been heaps better if they’d only stuck to their native language. Looks like they went to great lengths to emulate the Voidoids on the cover pics, too. –Jimmy Alvarado (Lollipop)

Weapon of Mass Seduction: CD
This band appears to be somewhat smart, very angry, obnoxiously loud, and probably have really, really dirty floors at their house. Actually, the back cover displays a rather clean environment, so what the hell do I know. In any event, I’m glad they could work out all their emotional issues they have with their friends on my time. Glad to help! BEST SONG: “She Swears” BEST SONG TITLE: “Dick to Cry on” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Recorded “on purpose.” –Rev. Norb (Music Abuse)

Everybody Dies: CD
I’ve got to admit that with a name like “Neutral Boy,” I was imagining a pop punk outfit. I knew that I was probably wrong because I don’t see a band like that coming out on Fivecore, but that’s what I pictured. Well, I was way off. This is some good, mid-tempo hardcore with growly (but still understandable) vocals. As it plays out, it becomes increasingly catchy. The songs are bouncing around in my head in a good way. The female backup vocals (supplied by bassist Mandy “Hot As Hell” Reed!) add the last piece of the puzzle that seals the deal for me. This band rules! A note to Neutral Boy: WA is not all that far from Victoria BC. Come on up! –Ty Stranglehold (Fivecore)

Feral Dogs: EP
Noisy as hell hardcore that has the Scandinavian d-beat thing happening, but not a note for note rip off by any means. The drums are pure chaos. The bass is loud and up front with the guitar (which sounds like it’s played by shards of glass). The delivery is urgent, almost to the point of mania at times (like in the song “Eczema”). You get four large and loud blasts here. The only one who might complain is your neighbor. Other than that, who cares? Just crank this fucker way up! –Matt Average (Loud Punk, loudpunk.com)

Dead Set on Destruction: CD
A discography CD for a band that been existence for only two years? If there is a demand for this to be re-released, who am I to judge? Well, here you have six tracks from an upcoming EP, a 7”, demo and live tracks of no-nonsense straight edge hardcore that doesn’t go overboard on the metal parts. My gripe is having the live tracks smack in the middle of the whole thing. I know chronologically it makes sense, but it does not stand up to the studio tracks, and that includes the demo. –Donofthedead (Organized Crime)

Crusaders of Love: LP
I’m starting to think Douchemaster has a direct line to my brain’s deepest punk rock desires. Part of a distinguished list of releases including the White Wires and the Black And Whites, Bryan Rackley and Co. have once again unleashed a pitch-fucking-perfect LP. This record does catchy self-destructive love with a clean (but not sterile) sound echoing early ‘80s pop punk. Maybe it’s something in the water, but these delightful Frenchmen have a sound so enthralling, myself and my two roommates have this record on the list of “you’re not allowed to play it three times in a row.” One song sounds like a heartbreak anthem from the 1950s! Basically, this record is a fucking good time, even if in the songs, the narrator isn’t having one. Can’t wait to see them live. –Samantha Beerhouse (Douchemaster)

Lock Your Doors: LP
There seems to be a serious Edgar Allan Poe theme going on with this band and record, from the band name to the graphics. At this point, that is at least preferable to a David Allan Coe theme and the trappings that might come with that. Looking more closely, I am seeing that this seems to be a recording from 1991, that one of the band members is named Gretchen Holtz, and the band is from Indiana. There is something rattling around in my head about Gretchen from the band The Smears from that area. A little more research shows that it is the same person and this band appears to be pre-Smears. The sound is along the same lines—garage punk with rough vocals, but this band is more lo-fi and features prominent organ. Real, real lo-fi. Fans of labels like RatCity, Crypt, and Bag Of Hammers would probably find a whole lot to like here.  –Mike Frame (Magnetic South)

Through the Night: CD
Pop punk. Judging from some of their labelmates, I’m willing to bet these guys are into God as well. –Jimmy Alvarado (Boot to Head, Box 9005, Portland, OR 97207)

Ska Crazy: CD
Former frontman of the infamous two-tone ska band, The Specials, the Original Rudeboy is back and as rude as ever with his newest release, Ska Crazy. Paying homage to Prince Buster, Max Romeo, and The Slickers, as well as echoing The Specials’ hit “Ghost Town” with “Roadblock, “ Neville Staple reminds us that he is as important to the scene as ever. This album has been done wonderfully and I suggest all first wave and two-tone ska fans pick up a copy.  –Genevieve Armstrong (Cleopatra)

Self-titled: CD
A twangy guitar, an organ like the ones they had in the '60s, and a girl yelling the same words over and over and over again. But then a spunky, bisex-vox number with shades of Berlin or something scoots out and breaks the tension. It's a short trip from charm to chore and New Black makes it several times. –Cuss Baxter (Thick)

Time Attack: CD
The thing about Thick is that they have (had?) the Arrivals, who are one of the best bands ever. Seriously. If you haven’t heard the Arrivals, I feel a small pain for you right now. I could go on for days about Ronnie’s drumming alone. Oh, the other thing about Thick is they put out a whole bunch of other crap like this that I hate. –Megan Pants (Thick)

Time Attack: CD
Synth-driven, artsy, and somewhat academically influenced post-punk. Depending on one’s mood or soberness, this could be deemed as fairly good or severely bad. Imagine Q and Not U meets electro. The Thick website says this CD is “what might just be the album the X-Ray Spex never wrote.” Uhm… I don’t see that at all. But I do agree with the rest of the release info that goes on to drop descriptions like new wave and no wave pop. That fits. –Mr. Z (Thick)

Self-titled: CD
A twangy guitar, an organ like the ones they had in the ‘60s, and a girl yelling the same words over and over and over again. But then a spunky, bisex-vox number with shades of Berlin or something scoots out and breaks the tension. It’s a short trip from charm to chore and New Black makes it several times. –Cuss Baxter (Thick)

Self-titled: CD
Arty new wave informed by bands like Wire and later-period 100 Flowers. Not bad, per se, but there’s an underlying current of “we’re so cool” pretentiousness in the delivery that kinda sours the sound. –Jimmy Alvarado (Thick)

The Blind Run: purple 10"
This sonically turbulent 10-incher belligerently blazes with all-out rough'n'tumble rock'n'roll crunch! The four sizzle-fried songs cacophonously contained herein are evil, vile, andtumultuously trashy... venomous and snotty razor-slashed vocals; high-tension crank-crazed straight-outta-the-gutter guitar savagery that violently grabs ya by the balls; skull-pummelling rumble'n'roar flesh-scorchin' bass detonations of frenzied low-end audial bite; and speedfreak thundergod boom-boom drumming madness. Hot damn hellfire for sure, the New Bomb Turks aurally rampage with dangerously bad-ass bowery punk sleaziness –Roger Moser Jr. (New Bomb Turks, PO Box; www.newbombturks.com)

Switchblade Tongues, Butterknife Brains: CD
Bear with me. The New Bomb Turks are the Dunkin’ Donuts of garage rock. For awhile they seemed to be everywhere. Almost everybody with an ounce of musical taste agreed that they were a high water mark for the game, neck and neck with the Devil Dogs and the Mummies. They appeared to be on a long, constant tour and seemed to have a release every month for five years straight. I can remember a stint when I saw them three times in four months without really even trying. From Eric’s often imitated overdrive vocals to the adrenal stab to the heart guitars, to the almost supernatural songwriting sense, to their rock solid, no-earthquake-can-break-it rhythm section, there was no chink in the armor. There’ve been no bad New Bomb Turks songs. Sure, some are better than others, but none of them slurped shit. Donuts. People, such as myself, who appreciate the fine art of deep frying and cheap, plentiful coffee realize there are far too many pale imitators, far too many ways to fuck up the seemingly simple ingredients. In LA, there are no Dunkin’ Donuts. I get an acute pain every time I take a chance on mom and pop donut shop and the apple fritter crumbles like a stale dough turd and the coffee tastes like used oil. New Bomb Turks. I get an acute pain every time I take a chance on some pouty motherfucker who screams “brothers and sisters” or “Hallelujah” while their designer corporate garage rock sounds like acid poured in my ear (or a publicist spewing in my ear). I can’t fault Dunkin’ Donuts or the New Bomb Turks institutions for perfecting the game and delivering what I’ve been asking for the entire time. Long, strained metaphors aside, this cover-heavy album of outtakes, a lost EP, and harder-to-find international releases proves the continued power of band that can make odds and ends sound like a fully realized album that’s sweet and fuckin’ smokes. –Todd Taylor (Gearhead)

The Blind Run: 10"
This sonically turbulent 10‑incher belligerently blazes with all‑out rough'n'tumble rock'n'roll crunch! The four sizzle‑fried songs cacophonously contained herein are evil, vile, and tumultuously trashy... venomous and snotty razor‑slashed vocals; high‑tension crank‑crazed straight‑outta‑the‑gutter guitar savagery that violently grabs ya by the balls; skull‑pummelling rumble'n'roar flesh‑scorchin' bass detonations of frenzied low‑end audial bite; and speedfreak thundergod boom‑boom drumming madness. Hot damn hellfire for sure, the New Bomb Turks aurally rampage with dangerously bad‑ass bowery punk sleaziness! –Guest Contributor (Epitaph Europe)

Tape Worm Blues: 10”/!!Destroy-Oh-Boy!!: LP
Man, unreleased tracks from the Turks! This is the second 10” I picked up in less than a month, which is cool ‘cuz I likes me some 10” records. It’s a blast being able to listen to demos that would go on to be future NBT releases, in their original slower incarnations. I remember an old Crypt Records catalog (circa late ‘90s) that used the same artwork as the cover of Tape Worm Blues. Liners by “Irving Azlik, Jr.” himself, who was Crypt’s favorite fictional whipping boy for all things they hated music biz-wise back then. I love !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!!, think it’s one of the great punk albums of all time, but NBT always shined brightest as a live band (and I actually think their best album was the Pissing out the Poison singles comp.) NBT still plays the occasional show, and I got to see their recent twentieth anniversary gig celebrating the release of !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!!, in their hometown of Columbus, OH. In case you were wondering, NBT still kills it live. –Sal Lucci (Crypt)

Off the Beaten Path: CD
Canadian street punk from Halifax, Nova Scotia, The New Breed play capable, anthemic oi style punk rock with more emphasis on rock (pub style; think old school UK bands like Peter and The Test Tube Babies or The Business) than punk. At times, the singer recalls Paul Bearer of Sheer Terror/Joe Coffee fame (not a bad thing), there’s lots of Thunders-style riffage and plenty of working class lyricism to keep quench the thirst of the boot boy crowd and not sinking into meathead-ism to keep the rest of us interested. –greg (Thorp)

Port City Rebels: CD
The New Breed play eight songs of very nice, well done, tuneful singalong street punk /Irish style songs with lots of hooks and melody. There is even some mandolin on here! Good lyrics about hanging out, drinking, and other stuff. The vocalist reminds me of the guy from Youth Brigade at times. Anyway this CD is really good and I would highly recommend it. –Mike Beer –Guest Contributor (Longshot)

Transmit! Transmit!: CD
I saw these guys in St. Pete, FL the night before The Fest. They had eight hundred guitars until I sobered up momentarily to see they had three, which still seems like a lot to me. They continued to play every show every day of The Fest, or maybe it was only once or twice more, but it seemed like they were everywhere. Maybe I should have paid more attention because they sound like they’d be really fun live. –Megan Pants (Kiss of Death)

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