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Record Reviews

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SHANKS, THE:
Big Feelin: 7"
Blown-out garage punk from this Nebraska band. Seems like the type of thing that any fan of In the Red Records or the review page at Terminal Boredom would love. If you have got a lotta P.Trash or Solid Sexie Lovie Doll singles in your collection, you will wanna be all over this. As good as most of those bands and from the Midwest, to boot.  –Mike Frame (Boom Chick)


SHANKS, THE:
I’d Fuck Me: Cassette
This is a rarities and B-sides collection by Omaha-based garage rockers The Shanks. Their specialty is the seedier edge of the subgenre, very reminiscent of The Spider Babies. Fans of heavily distorted garage sounds with gritty, sexually-infused lyrics will dig them for sure. From the mildly perverted cover art to the nifty cassette shell, it is releases like this one that are making me a big fan of the tape resurgence. It’s also cool that a download card is included. Fun, sick, and mesmerizing, The Shanks are like Christian TV minus the Christians. How’s that for an endorsement? –Art Ettinger (Rainy Road)


SHANKS, THE:
Backstabber: 7”
Squealing, feedback-drenched guitars and howling, screeching vocals, this is exquisitely intense. The Shanks’ songs on this here 7” sound like some long-lost nugget of Northwestern garage punk: Wipers weirdness, dirtier and nastier than Mudhoney, faster and more ferocious than Murder City Devils. This is a ripper. Comes highly recommended.  –Jeff Proctor (Tic Tac Totally)


SHANNON AND THE CLAMS:
I Wanna Go Home: CD
Bastardized ‘50s riffs seems to be flavor of the month, but Shannon And The Clams are having a lot of fun with it and are able to bring the listener along. The guitars are laden with reverb, as are the vocals some of the time. This dynamic creates a bit of necessary chaos for a band that likely sounds really good live. “Troublemaker” and “The Warlock in the Woods” are mid-tempo ‘50s rock while “Blast Me to Bermuda” gets into faster realms. There are slower songs that are well done, but become a bit tedious after two minutes. That two minute pop standard must occasionally be adhered to. The songs, as they appear on the album, are occasionally grouped too closely by tempo, which is a shame, because the diversity in speed would have been an opportunity to create a better flow for the album. But all in all, the songwriting is solid. It’s a great record for fans of the new old. –Billups Allen (1-2-3-4-Go!)


SHANNON AND THE CLAMS:
Ozma: 7” single
Throwback to the late ‘50s/early ‘60s rock’n’roll sound. Retro sounds for today’s nostalgic-minded youth. “Ozma” is the better of the two here. It’s a song about a dog who has passed away. (I heard that the first song Pearl Jam had a hit with was about a dog as well.) “Apples and oranges here,” I can hear you shout. The flipside, a cover the “Muppet Babies” theme song, is a total throwaway. –Matt Average (1-2-3-4-Go!, 1234gorecords.com)


SHANNONWRIGHT:
Dyed in the Wool: CD
This is a soft, lilting, well-orchestrated musical marvel that’s celestial and brightly sparkling but dark, pained, and morosely dismal as well. It’s sonically sparse, yet intricately detailed, a soul-soothing, spiritually moving collage of sweet swirling-in-the-breeze songs richly laden with the deepest of heart-wrenching emotion. ShannonWright is a uniquely gifted vocalist/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who’s illustriously comparable to PJ Harvey, an all-acoustic Siouxsie, and a female impersonator Nick Drake. She’s absolutely the most articulate composer since Ludwig van Beethoven or, at the very least, Lennon and McCartney. Damn, I’m gettin’ all gooey and fuzzy on the inside, ‘cause my ears are irreversibly transfixed, dazzled, hypnotized, and deeply in love with the seductively bewitching sounds of Dyed In The Wool. –Roger Moser Jr. (Quarterstick)


SHANNONWRIGHT:
Dyed in the Wool: CD
This is a soft, lilting, well-orchestrated musical marvel that’s celestial and brightly sparkling but dark, pained, and morosely dismal as well. It’s sonically sparse, yet intricately detailed, a soul-soothing, spiritually moving collage of sweet swirling-in-the-breeze songs richly laden with the deepest of heart-wrenching emotion. ShannonWright is a uniquely gifted vocalist/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who’s illustriously comparable to PJ Harvey, an all-acoustic Siouxsie, and a female impersonator Nick Drake. She’s absolutely the most articulate composer since Ludwig van Beethoven or, at the very least, Lennon and McCartney. Damn, I’m gettin’ all gooey and fuzzy on the inside, ‘cause my ears are irreversibly transfixed, dazzled, hypnotized, and deeply in love with the seductively bewitching sounds of Dyed In The Wool. –Guest Contributor (Quarterstick)


SHAPE BREAKER / FUCK MOUNTAIN:
Split: 7”
Two post-punk jammers with traces of goth and hardcore. Philadelphia’s Shapebreaker cover the A-side with “Spellbound” while Dublin’s FuckMountain defend the rear with “Idle Hands.” Both songs are equipped with simple riffs, intense solos, and delayed vocals. Listening to this makes me want to break some glassware and kick a door down, preferably at the same time.  –Alanna Why (Gary, garyrecords.com, garyrcrds@gmail.com)


SHAPES, THE:
Songs for Sensible People: CD
The Shapes are another criminally obscure band hailing from England who apparently left a lasting enough impression that someone cared about, as well as remembered, them so that this compendium of their recorded output could see the light of day, and the punk world is a much better place as a result. One of the architects of what later became “punk pathetique” (think Toy Dolls, Splodgenessabounds and the like), they married to some very silly subject matter (how silly? How do “Jennifer the Conifer,” which is a love song to a tree, or “{I Saw} Batman {in the Laundrette}” strike you?) to the punk template and came up with catchy songs that weren’t afraid to be just as flat-out funny as sound pissed off. Their “Wot’s For Lunch, Mum (Not Beans Again!)” is a bonafide classic and its inclusion here is more than enough reason to pick this up and provide it with a properly reverential spot in the ol’ collection. One more thing: the liner notes are a fuckin’ riot: “The pressure of drink, women, and rock‘n’roll debauchery totally failing to manifest in their lives began to affect the band badly….Dave began wearing a curly wig and false mustache, claiming that he was really Carlos Santana and that, therefore, he should get double helpings of ‘eggs, beans and chips’ when the band stopped off for a nosh…. Brian demanded that his knees be removed so that he could have the front of his legs paved. It was all getting too much….” –Jimmy Alvarado (Overground)


SHAPESHIFTER:
Self-titled: 7”
Like The Degenerics, this is another band that my friend Joe had sent to me not knowing I had gotten this for review. Unlike The Degenerics, I’m not really that into what I hear here. I like what he sent; I listened to it over and over. Wait, I’m a complete moron. It’s the same exact release. I listened to Joe’s copy on my little jambox and I listened to mine on my laptop. World of difference to me. What I thought was tinny sounding wasn’t at all. Really lyricaL crust that isn’t without melody. If, in the song “Feeding the Beast,” the lyrics actually correctly spelled when it says, “as the bones enrich the soil under our feat,” then I applaud you on your word play (it easily could go over the top, but is always well-balanced, and not a groan was induced). It was suggested that this is reminiscent of Aus Rotten, but seeing as I’ve avoided them for (apparently misguided) presumptions, I’m not sure. If they are (but I think I might just give Aus Rotten a chance now). A strong release with a cover photo of old cars that had me mesmerized. –Megan Pants (Don Giovanni)


SHARDS:
Self-titled: LP
Dark, atypical hardcore with even darker lyrics about suicide, “breeders,” religion and so on. The songs often have a herky-jerky quality to their structure and a surprising “big” sound to them. They’re also oddly catchy and layered with lots of bits that will give those expecting a more straightforward slam-a-thon experience a bit more to chew on, which is never a bad thing. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sorry State)


SHARED ARMS:
III Sessions: CD
Super-impressively executed skate-style pop punk not too far off the map from bands like The Swellers or Living With Lions. Slick without being too sugary, technical without being too show-offy. Not exactly my favorite style on earth, but these dudes are certainly right up there in quality with their very-popular peers. This band could certainly turn a lot of heads. Good stuff. Awesome handmade, spray-stenciled packaging, too. –Dave Williams (Tragicomedy)


SHARING MASS GRAVES:
Evil Death: LP
Ready to feel kind of icky? Check out these lyrics: “Rip it! Wear the flesh! Climb inside you! Become one! See through your eyes when I cum!” That’s from the song “Buffalo Bill,” inspired by Silence of the Lambs. Those aren’t even the most fucked up lyrics on this record. It gets much worse when they get into the songs about John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer. This sickness is set to choked-out vocals over thrashy hardcore. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself headbanging and vomiting simultaneously as you listen. –MP Johnson (Blind Spot)


SHARK INFERNO:
We Are Monsters: CD
This band accidentally made a grunge record, and not a particularly good one. Even if you spent the early ‘90s worshipping bands from the Pacific Northwest and wearing the same flannel shirt every day until your armpits smelled like a pile of dead rats, you still might not be able to get into songs like “Stems,” which features this little dab of poetry: “Her stems are long and fine. They really blow my mind. Caress them through the night. They make me feel alright.” On the other hand, there’s a nice tribute to Edie Sedgwick, and I can get behind that, even if it’s kind of awful. Also, despite what the run time says, I’m pretty sure this CD is one million painful minutes long.  –MP Johnson (Self-released, sharkinferno.blogspot.com)


SHARK MATTER:
Chum Bucket: CDEP
Popped it into the stereo and couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t play. Then I noticed the glue (or glue-like substance) caked all over the disc. –Jimmy Alvarado (sharkmatter@gmail.com)


SHARK PACT / CUSTODY BATTLE:
Split: 7’’ EP
Shark Pact is two members of Hail Seizures!, one on drums and one on synthesizer. These two have a couple of the most moving and emotive voices in punk right now and their passion just pours off the record. I’ve been following Olympia punk pretty closely these days and it’s partly a result of what these two have been contributing to its sound. I had been playing Shark Pact’s last album a lot before getting this 7” to review and I wasn’t disappointed. I love the darkness of their lyrics that are confrontational to the head-in-the-sand positivity of their liberal arts town. They’re unafraid to deal with real depression and despair. Their sound is odd. It isn’t pop new wave, nor is it noisy like Nervous Gender or the punk-without-guitars sound of a band like The Screamers. It’s kind of like if the band Europe were dirty punk with crashing, grandiose keyboards, vigorous shouting and fervent, angry, drumming. It’s not catchy. It takes some time to digest. At first, it might seem like a dis to compare them to Europe, but think about it... a punk-as-fuck Europe? C’mon, you’re curious. Sometimes I spin the Custody Battle side and sometimes I don’t. I’m definitely not as enthusiastic about them, but there’s nothing wrong with their three songs of drunken, filthy punk or their despondent, hungry lyrics. They sound like one of those short-lived Chattanooga bands that slipped through the cracks and that’s fine with me. –Craven Rock (Ditches, sharkpact@yahoo.com)


SHARK PANTS:
Porno Snakehead: CD
I saw Shark Pants play in Torrance last year. They were sandwiched between two of my favorite bands: the Knockout Pills and Toys That Kill. Much to my surprise, Shark Pants stole the show. No disrespect to the Knockout Pills and Toys That Kill; they were both awesome, but I expected them to be awesome. I didn’t expect anything out of Shark Pants and they blew me away. It was a solid wall of sound that carried with it all of what I love about punk rock from Tucson: the noisy insanity of The Blacks, the trashy humor of the Weird Lovemakers, sneaky melodies like the Knockout Pills. Beyond all of this, Shark Pants seemed to simultaneously explode and keep shit tight as hell. That night in Torrance still ranks among my all-time favorite shows. I think of it so fondly that any Shark Pants album would have a tough act to follow. For me to fully endorse Porno Snakehead, Shark Pants would have to take all the energy and rock from their live show and capture it into plastic. That’s a pretty tough thing to ask of any band. Still, at first, it seemed as if Shark Pants were equal to the task. The first four songs explode out of the speakers like free beer and 2 AM promises. I thought we had a classic in the making. Then, “Later Alligator” takes its turn as the fifth song on the album, and, through some inexplicable force of nature, someone in Shark Pants starts screaming like Robert Plant “Baby, baby, baby (keep repeating).” And it bummed me out so much that I almost couldn’t listen to the next song. In fact, I get so mad every time I hear those baby, baby, babies that I can’t seem to enjoy the last four songs, though they do have all the rock I’d hoped for. In fact, this album is about seven baby, baby, babies from being perfect. But seven baby, baby, babies is a lot, especially when they’re right in the goddamn middle of everything, goddamn it. I think I’m just gonna burn the first four songs and the last four songs onto a CD of my own and start telling people that I have the elusive Shark Pants demo and that it’s way better than Porno Snakehead. –Sean Carswell (Recess)


SHARK PANTS:
Automatic Pinner: 7”EP
Well, this one’s easy. Shark Pants released this one several years back on Underground Government in Japan in support of a tour there, only as a CDEP. And since I’m becoming sort of a jackass in this digital era where I don’t consider music one hundred percent real until it’s released on vinyl (there hasn’t been one instance reported of a record player downloading a virus and you never have to worry if your record player just erased your entire collection in one digital belch), I can now fully rejoice that this four-song capsule that’s a great distillation of Shark Pants. It’s a wonderful introduction to these three Tucsonian wizards. Strip Hendrix of any hippie tendencies, feed him a steady diet of norteños, Underdog, and file under complex, not busy. A band that other bands absolutely adore and are mystified by. –Todd Taylor (Dirt Cult)


SHARK SOUP:
Self-titled: CDEP
Psychobilly from Germany with one part stand up bass, one part guitar, and one part drums to create a trio; more fun than the Stray Cats and in league with Tiger Army. I’m grateful that this was released in the EP format instead of a full length. With songs not clocking in more than three minutes, this is an easy and enjoyable listen. –Donofthedead (Shark Soup)


SHARK TOYS:
Self-titled: LP

Repetitive, clean guitar riffs telegraph a Wire quality in this record. There is a lot of fast riffage over primal drumming with dry, blasé vocals in the best way. “Pot Holes” could be a post-punk classic. “Who Cares?” expresses well the reckless abandon of youth. It’s instantly catchy. The whole thing’s like that. If you’re into that sort of thing, it’s a home run. Nice one.

–Billups Allen (Dead Beat)


SHARK?:
Kreegah!: 7”
Annoyingly boring indie rock with barely noticeable surf guitar noodling. This potentially could have been pretty popular back in those days when bands like Toadies and Hum were getting played on the “alternative” radio stations. Ya know, back when you didn’t need to see pictures of the band’s members throwing money in the air to know they had dollar signs for eyes. I tried to find some kind of redeeming punk qualities to this record, but aside from the fact that it’s pressed to vinyl, there are none. –Juan Espinosa (Oops Baby)


SHARKPACT:
Ditches: LP
Sharkpact is a male/female, drums/keyboard duo out of Olympia, WA. They may only be two people with two instruments, but they make that little bit go a long way. Unfortunately, I don’t like the saccharine emo punk way that they take it. Features members of Mutoid Men and Chin Up, Meriwether. –Vincent Battilana (Rumbletowne / Ditch)


SHARKS AND SAILORS:
Builds Brand New: CD
Chock full of dissonant, odd chord progressions guaranteeing them oodles of hipster alt-rock points they can collect and later cash in for expensive pre-stressed jeans, T-shirts, and name brand sunglasses. –Jimmy Alvarado (www.sharksandsailors.com)


SHARKS COME CRUISIN:
A Past We Forget That We Need to Know: LP
Yarr matey, here be the latest musical voyage of pirate punks Sharks Come Cruisin. These scurvy sea dogs play what many swabs would classify as folk punk or Irish punk, with traditional folk influences. There’s a lot of energy on this recording, but I can’t get on board with the style. The inserts included with the vinyl, a pack of “trading cards” with song and band info, are among the coolest I’ve seen for album packaging, and the band definitely wins in that regard, but, overall, I find this more a sinker than a swimmer. –Paul J. Comeau (Sharks Come Cruisin, sharkscomecruisin.com)


SHARP BALLOONS:
“Evening News”: 7”
Raw punk rock here. As amateurish as Kleenex and Catholic Discipline. “Evening News” was recorded at someone’s house. The music doesn’t hide it. Fucking brutal as hell. And impressive. Then again, it’s on Goner, so what did you expect? –Ryan Leach (Goner, goner-records.com)


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