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Record Reviews

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ONLY CRIME:
To the Nines: CD
A new all-star hybrid has been created. Russ Rankin of Good Riddance fame searches for an outlet to express himself when an impending hiatus of his band is imminent. He first finds a taker in Aaron Dalbec of the band Bane. There is the first guitarist. Next, the brothers, Zach and Donivan, from Hagfish add another guitarist and bassist. So while a band is being created, Russ has a conversation with Bill Stevenson about his project. Biff, bam, boom! He is interested and now the project is complete with the addition of Bill on drums. I was apprehensive of this record at first. High expectations can taint the first listen. So I held back for awhile before listening. On first listen, this band sounds very similar to later period Good Riddance. I was expecting more of a metal, hardcore sound from the guitars. But, the thought here is more of a Black Flag meets Bl’ast! sound that Good Riddance was gravitating to. Heavy, without going into the trappings of playing metal. If you pay attention to drumming in recordings, the drumming is amazing. Bill is a banger, and at the same time, a technician. The rest of the band has the sound of a band playing together for many years even though they have been together for less than one. My thinking is now that Good Riddance is no more, this new band will carry on, leaving no regrets for the demise of its past music. –Donofthedead (Fat)


ONLY CRIME:
To the Nines: CD
A new all-star hybrid has been created. Russ Rankin of Good Riddance fame searches for an outlet to express himself when an impending hiatus of his band is imminent. He first finds a taker in Aaron Dalbec of the band Bane. There is the first guitarist. Next, the brothers, Zach and Donivan, from Hagfish add another guitarist and bassist. So while a band is being created, Russ has a conversation with Bill Stevenson about his project. Biff, bam, boom! He is interested and now the project is complete with the addition of Bill on drums. I was apprehensive of this record at first. High expectations can taint the first listen. So I held back for awhile before listening. On first listen, this band sounds very similar to later period Good Riddance. I was expecting more of a metal, hardcore sound from the guitars. But, the thought here is more of a Black Flag meets Bl’ast! sound that Good Riddance was gravitating to. Heavy, without going into the trappings of playing metal. If you pay attention to drumming in recordings, the drumming is amazing. Bill is a banger, and at the same time, a technician. The rest of the band has the sound of a band playing together for many years even though they have been together for less than one. My thinking is now that Good Riddance is no more, this new band will carry on, leaving no regrets for the demise of its past music. –Donofthedead (Fat)


ONLY CRIME:
To the Nines: CD
This is a band featuring All/Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson providing the backbeat, which means that the proceedings are wound tighter than Tarantino on crank. The pop quotient isn’t as overt here as in his other more famous bands, but these guys have more than their share of hooks, even if they’re sneakier about how they unload them on an unsuspecting listener, and are capable of some pretty solid tunes in their own right. –Jimmy Alvarado (Fat)


ONLY CRIME:
Pursuance: LP/CD
At last! Only Crime has finally released an album worthy of its constituent parts. I don’t like the phrase “supergroup,” but when you have members of Descendents, Good Riddance, Bane, and Modern Life Is War in a band then expectations are bound to be high. Previous releases have been okay but not to a level that would get me excited enough to buy tickets for a school night 250 mile round trip to see the band, but Pursuance did that after just a handful of plays. This has the clout you’d expect with Bill Stevenson behind the drums and the twin guitars add a hefty wall of sound to proceedings. I also believe that Russ Rankin’s vocals are better in Only Crime than they are in Good Riddance, which is a major plus point, too. The expected synergy has been realized, resulting in some exceptional melodic hardcore—all killer, no filler.  –Rich Cocksedge (Rise)


ONLY FUMES & CORPSES:
Read What’s in Between: CDEP
Modern hardcore from the west of Ireland. Short, punchy songs with huge hooks and blistering riffs. They’ve got the epic intro that makes you launch your beer twelve feet in the air down cold. The vocals are belted out by someone named “Momme” who never lets up and seldom slows down the songs. Slot them between Trail of Dead and The Refused without the theatrics. –Jim Ruland (www.myspace.com/onlyfumesandcorpses)


ONLY FUMES AND CORPSES:
Who Really Cares What Really Lasts: CD
Hey, look at this. There are still people making cheesy screamo metalcore. Yeah, I know. I thought that whole fad reached its conclusion years ago too, but, apparently, these guys disagree. Oh. Shh. Here they come. Don’t say anything. Ha. Shh. Oh, hi OFAC. Ha-ha-ha. No, I’m not laughing at you. How could I possibly laugh at something with so much heart, so much emotional depth. I mean, that first line: “This is your cross to bear, this is my axe to grind.” So original. So deep. Ha-ha-ha. I’m sorry. I can’t even keep a straight face. But no, keep doing what you’re doing. Walking clichés that actually incorporate clichés into lyrics? Brilliant. –MP Johnson (Underground Movement)


ONLY IN DREAMS:
Under This Burning Sky: CD
Man, this CD sounds funny, like it was either over-compressed or the levels are way too high. I hear this weird distortion and clipping and it's not the guitars. It's real muddy even at low listening levels. The drums are real loud, too. Like a drummer was the recording engineer. The vocals are a tad dry and loud in the mix, too. Could have used some effects or plug-in to make it sound better. I guess it sounded good to the band when they were mixing it. That is all that matters anyway. If you're wondering, they play screamo metalcore that reminds me of a mix of Death by Stereo meets the Bronx. –Donofthedead (Pop Smear)


ONLY IN DREAMS:
Under This Burning Sky: CD
Man, this CD sounds funny, like it was either over-compressed or the levels are way too high. I hear this weird distortion and clipping and it’s not the guitars. It’s real muddy even at low listening levels. The drums are real loud, too. Like a drummer was the recording engineer. The vocals are a tad dry and loud in the mix, too. Could have used some effects or plug-in to make it sound better. I guess it sounded good to the band when they were mixing it. That is all that matters anyway. If you’re wondering, they play screamo metalcore that reminds me of a mix of Death by Stereo meets the Bronx. –Donofthedead (Pop Smear)


ONLY THIEVES:
Heartless Romantics: CD-R
This falls solidly into the alt-rock pond. Sonic Youth guitar bluster meets more traditional indie rock conventions, making for something that’s ripe for radio airplay, and some of it might even be considered danceable. –Jimmy Alvarado (no address)


ONLY THUNDER:
Lower Bounds: CD
Sometimes, I feel bad for bands that miss the boat. I feel bad when a band decides on a style of music, puts everything it has into doing that style justice, and never considers the fact that the bandwagon was abandoned long ago. I mean, the whole Hot Water Music bearded emocore thing happened a decade ago, didn’t it? There was a brief period during which tons of copycats put out records. At that time, this Only Thunder CD probably would have been eaten up by kids who couldn’t get enough of the style. But what about now? Do people want to hear a band that doesn’t have anything new to add to the sound? Or do they just want to listen to the discs they’ve been listening to for years? If it were me, I would have waited another ten years. You’ve got to give people enough time to forget. –MP Johnson (Bermuda Mohawk)


ONO:
Albino: LP
Despite their having roots dating back to the ‘80s, and I have a few releases that one of their previous labels put out back in that halcyon decade, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this band. I guess what they do could be defined as “music” in the strictest sense—they primarily employ traditional instruments, there’s a guy singing and a discernible beat exists—but what they do within those parameters sounds more like a bunch of rhinos zonked outta their minds on brain-melting drugs running riot in a recording studio. A potent cocktail of industrial-inspired noise, blues, gospel, drone, skronk, psychedelia, and the Velvet Underground—their cover of “All Tomorrow’s Parties” is downright hypnotic. So many moods ‘n’ sounds mish-mashed back and forth that sometimes you dunno what to feel. It definitely ain’t for the squeamish, and I imagine a whole swath of casual listeners would be bored silly, but if it tickles yer fancy, I’m bettin’ green you’ll be playin’ it often. –Jimmy Alvarado (Moniker)


ONSIND:
Dissatisfactions: CD
For some reason, I always prepare to hate any hippie-punk that’s sent my way. I don’t know why. I mean, I’m certainly not wild about TBIAPB or Defiance, OH, but man… Ghost Mice’s Europe? That record is a ten. And, thankfully, Onsind lean way more in Chris Clavin’s particular stripped-down, catchy-as-hell, melodic direction than toward those other gravelly-voiced hippie-crusts. Super-sincere, adorable, acoustic pop punk songs that reminds me a bit of Gordon Gano’s Army (due in large part to their accents, no doubt) meets (and don’t get bummed out on this) Swiss Army Romance-era Dashboard Confessional (and for the record… I love that shit. Ya, that’s right.). A very pleasant surprise. –Dave Williams (Plan-It-X)


ONSIND:
Mildred, Margie, Annie, Clarice: 10” EP
When I mention a band is feminist and acoustic I know a lot of you will automatically consider that a big bag of suck and probably try and trip me when I walk past you. I get it, I know. Understanding that, I still want to shove these four songs down all your throats, knowing you’ll eventually thank me for punching your esophagus with my personal tastes in music. Don’t believe me? Each song is about a female character from four movies: Mildred (Nurse Ratchet) from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Margie from Fargo, Annie from Misery, and Clarice from Silence of the Lambs. So it’s smart, catchy, fun, very well written, and full of movie references. If you were listening to me talk, instead of just reading this in my voice, this is part where I grab you by your shoulders and shake you violently while proclaiming, “This is my favorite EP of the year!” very loudly in your narrow-minded face. –Donna Ramone –Guest Contributor (Plan-It-X, onsind.bandcamp.com)


ONSIND:
Anaesthesiology: CD
ONSIND is one of my favorite bands currently. I mean, err, “favourite.” They’re from this very real place called Pity Me, where I pity nothing because these two are too talented for that entire British Isle. This album is just as beautiful, heartfelt, emotional, smart, and driven as their previous efforts. Only moreso, since the songs are “loosely connected” but not like some pretentious concept record. And also the first track has “Pokemon” in the title, and I fucking love Pokemon. Fuck you, don’t judge me. –Donna Ramone (Discount Horse, nathanisacynic@gmail.com, onsind.bandcamp.com)


ONWARD PILGRIM:
Get What You Wanted: 7"
Indie rock that brings to mind Sebadoh, Archers Of Loaf, early Lemonheads, and other bands from that time frame. I respect the effort here, but Onward Pilgrim, at least on this record, lack the tightness and originality needed to warrant repeated listens. A little more work on the song writing and less emphasis on the guitar wanking. There’s no need to wank this hard unless your name is J Mascis or you have your own pedal named after you. Until then, I’ll stick to Icky Mettle and You’re Living All Over Me. –Dave Disorder (Eugene)


ONWARD PILGRIM:
Self-titled: CDEP
More alt-stuff here. These guys bring to mind Neil Young on occasion, though I’m thinkin’ that’s more ’cause of the guitar sound than anything else. The cover art is gorgeous. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.eugenerecords.com)


ONWARD PILGRIM:
Self-titled: CD
Conventional and non-threatening hard rock. I use the genre term very loosely in describing this to you, as I’ve concluded that the music on this disc is neither hard nor does it rock. Normally, this would be a prime candidate for something I’d take with me to sell at a used record store. But this time I think I’ll do the music world a favor and just chuck this coaster into the blue recycling bin. –Juan Espinosa (Brotherhood Of The Snake, brotherhoodofthesnake.com)


OOPS, THE:
Taste of Zimbabwe: CD
Total f’n ripper! They sound like an early ‘80s hardcore punk (emphasis on the punk) band. Short, reckless blasts that have the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. The cover of “Small Man, Big Mouth” is decent, and a bold choice to even commit to recording (considering the original is untouchable). However, their originals are where their strengths lie—”Wooden Cunt,” “Shave and Quit,” “On the Lift,” “Death to Brunetta,” and the shredder “Christian Gay.” Italy seems to be cranking out some great bands lately. –Matt Average (Slovenly, slovenly.com)


OOPS, THEE:
Happy Charlie: CD
Some Italian punkers OD on the old ‘80s American hardcore records in their collection. Thrashy tempos, yelled vocals, and aggressive overall without being dour, not unlike early Beastie Boys, whose “Egg Raid on Mojo” they cover here. –Jimmy Alvarado (Slovenly)


OOZZIES:
Nation Out of Hand: CD
The Oozzies aggressively unleash a barbaric blast of “old school” hardcore unruliness... they’re defiant, unmanageable, and full of rage-fuelled insolence... they’re a mad-as-hell havoc-wreaking collective of musical malcontents chaotically creating a full-force flurry of insurgent anti-social sounds. This is the sort of nonconformist sonic chaos that frenetically inspired me to run rampant and free through the garbage-strewn streets of my hellhole hometown when I was a belligerent lil’ teen-aged hooligan... an angst-ridden era when I would carelessly careen across the pavement on my skateboard, recklessly rocket down the sunbaked sidewalks (all the while furiously flailing like a crazed maniac possessed!), and then daredevilishly bunnyhop the curb and wildly glide along its treacherous rugged surface as if my very life depended upon it (fists tightly clenched, teeth fitfully grittin’, and an impenetrable level of concentration so thick a chainsaw could cut through it)... damn, one precariously misplaced movement, and it’s all over in mere freezeframed seconds... SPLAT! Flesh and asphalt abruptly meet. Profusely sweating, bleeding, and cussin’ a meanstreak, I recover my dishevelled senses and quickly inspect my battered, bruised, and torn physique... yep, everything appears to be intact and still workin’. The youthful propensity for perseverance is pumpin’ strong, so it’s time for yet another futile attempt to conquer that damned perilous curb. Alley-oop! Ah, thanks for the memories, Oozzies... –Roger Moser Jr. (Industrial Strength)


OOZZIES:
Nation Out of Hand: CD
The Oozzies aggressively unleash a barbaric blast of “old school” hardcore unruliness... they’re defiant, unmanageable, and full of rage-fuelled insolence... they’re a mad-as-hell havoc-wreaking collective of musical malcontents chaotically creating a full-force flurry of insurgent anti-social sounds. This is the sort of nonconformist sonic chaos that frenetically inspired me to run rampant and free through the garbage-strewn streets of my hellhole hometown when I was a belligerent lil’ teen-aged hooligan... an angst-ridden era when I would carelessly careen across the pavement on my skateboard, recklessly rocket down the sunbaked sidewalks (all the while furiously flailing like a crazed maniac possessed!), and then daredevilishly bunnyhop the curb and wildly glide along its treacherous rugged surface as if my very life depended upon it (fists tightly clenched, teeth fitfully grittin’, and an impenetrable level of concentration so thick a chainsaw could cut through it)... damn, one precariously misplaced movement, and it’s all over in mere freezeframed seconds... SPLAT! Flesh and asphalt abruptly meet. Profusely sweating, bleeding, and cussin’ a meanstreak, I recover my dishevelled senses and quickly inspect my battered, bruised, and torn physique... yep, everything appears to be intact and still workin’. The youthful propensity for perseverance is pumpin’ strong, so it’s time for yet another futile attempt to conquer that damned perilous curb. Alley-oop! Ah, thanks for the memories, Oozzies... –Guest Contributor (Industrial Strength)


OOZZIES, THE:
Nation Out of Hand: CD
Pretty ho-hum punk rock. Produced by East Bay Ray. Must’ve been really cool having a real live Dead Kennedy produce your album. Yippee. Next. –Jimmy Alvarado (Industrial Strength, 2824 Regatta Boulevard, Richmond, CA 94804)


OPEN CASKET / SCRABBLE ROBOT:
Split: 7"
The “Vs.” between the bands’ names on the cover positions this split not as a collaboration, but as a competition. Open Casket’s first song features the sort of casually angry vocals that I find endearing. It’s sort of an armchair angry, a “Damn it I wish I had more root beer!” angry, rather than an “I’m gonna gut you and eat your intestines” angry. It’s the kind of angry you can get behind pretty easily when you’re sitting around listening to records. OC’s second song is sung by a different band member. It’s about falling out with a former bandmate and offers these fantastic lyrics: “Spent the money from the last show. I know that was wrong. I bought a bong.” Scrabble Robot’s songs on the flip are perfectly acceptable, but about halfway through the first one I found myself really anxious to go back and listen to the Open Casket side again. So I guess I’ve picked a winner. It should be noted that this is a beautiful package, with an amazing full-color cover, green vinyl, and a comic strip insert which, by the way, also depicts Open Casket as the winner of the competition. –MP Johnson (Mortville)


OPEN SEX, THEE:
Self-titled: LP
The little one shit sheet that accompanied this record made a lot of lofty comparisons that are not true. Allusions to Rocket From The Tombs, Can, John Lydon, etc. They’re all bands and people I can get behind. They tend to have me putting the record on immediately. However, the reality is Thee Open Sex are just another boring indie rock band with a sound that’s accessible and non-challenging. You’ve heard this shit a million times before, and will hear it for time eternal. Doesn’t mean it’s a good thing, or something that needs to continue. Blehhhh... –Matt Average (Magnetic South, magneticsouthrecordings.org)


OPEN SEX, THEE:
Self-titled: Cassette
Meandering between psychedelic and shoegaze, this five piece out of Indiana makes me want to crack open a beer or smoke some weed. These are sweaty, sunshiny summertime tunes with Miss Mess on vocals, sounding like Grace Slick meets Kathleen Hanna circa Le Tigre. Her nasal cry floats from orgasmic to indifferent, while prog rock chords ebb, crest, and crash. “Gimme Away” veers into garage with a ‘60s Chuck Berry pogo structure while “Light of Love” and “Live Dead” show off their musical chops. The latter is an epic, six-and-a-half minutes of scat singing, rife with “oohs and ah ahs” that gently escalates to what I can only imagine must resemble a religious rapture if seen live. Not your typical debut, this is well crafted rock’n’roll at a comfortable 25 mph, much like The Velvet Underground. Recommended. –Kristen K (Let’s Pretend)


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