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Record Reviews

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Rise Above: CD
This is a benefit CD for the West Memphis 3 (See the documentary Paradise Lost). I’m sure you heard about this. I read about it in the Los Angeles Times. It has different people singing Black Flag songs, backed by Henry Rollins and the band Mother Superior. I like the premise of the CD – to raise awareness and support a cause. The part that irks me is that Henry is using punk when he long abandoned the scene. Would anyone buy this if it was songs from his solo career? No. I had a coupon, so I bought this out of curiosity. I was disappointed. I grew up on Black Flag. The songs do not have the ferocity of the originals. The lack of Greg Ginn’s guitars sound is definitely missing in the energy. If you are looking for good Black Flag, I would recommend Everything Went Black. Damaged is not their best record! It contains songs that were recorded before Henry joined the band. My opinion is that the end of Black Flag was when Henry started singing. I much preferred when Ron Reyes (Chavo) or Dez Cadena was the singer. This is like going out to see the Dead Kennedys with Brandon Cruz singing.
–Donofthedead (Sanctuary)

Two Turds and a Golfball: CD
I picked this up outta the review pile because the Grand Pricks, whose “High Kicks to Your Dicks” is one of thee punkest albums of the last five years. I regretted that decision when I saw it was a compilation of bands playing the same song, one that shares the same name as the compilation itself, and then was pleasantly surprised when I put this puppy on. WILDLY diverse in sound, from grind to hardcore to rap metal to straight punk to country to industrial noise and beyond. The fact that virtually none of the lyrics match from one version to the next leads me to believe that this is more a case of bands performing songs with the same name rather than covering the same tune. Either way, this was some pretty entertaining listening. Pick it up. Need more impetus? There’re exclusive Anal Cunt and Dahmer tracks on here, you discerning punkers, you.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Hollow Bunny)

We Don’t Need Society: CD
Another tribute album, this one for DRI, and I have to admit that, while I liken the tribute album phenomenon to walking up and kicking a musician square in the nuts for all his hard work, this one wasn’t as bad as expected. Some choice covers of songs spanning the bulk of DRI’s career are provided courtesy of Ratos de Porao, Electric Frankenstein (a smoking cover of “Plastique,” believe it or not), Hollywood Hate, Retox, Capitalist Casualties and more. As it’s a tribute album, I refuse to recommend buying this under any circumstances, but I’m not above suggesting that you find someone that was dumb enough to buy it and ask ’em to tape it for you.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Malt Soda)

You Call This Music?!?, Vol. II: CD
Finally a disc that offers up some seething straight up punk with blood on its boots, piss in its gut and hate in its veins. This has a nice helping of bands with snotty female vocals, something I'm rather fond of myself. For whatever it's worth, my favorites are the Jag Offs, Backside, Pillbox Terror and the Voids. A little bit of something for everyone, including a handful of duds, but all with a nice chippy attitude. I think this would make a decent party CD.
–aphid (Geykido Comet)

You Call This Music?!?, Vol. II: CD
Thirty-five of your favorite bands make a ruckus. Features Operation Cliff Clavin, ESL, Pornshot, Toys That Kill, Four Letter Words, Nazis from Mars and oodles of others. Personally, the highlight of the whole disc was the outtro.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Geykido Comet)

Greeting: CD
Sampler from the Lobster Records roster. Represented here are Staring Back, Yellowcard, Mock Orange, Buck Wild, Park, Whippersnapper, Yellowcard, Joystick and Jargon. Kinda like the minor league team for Fat or Epitaph. Give it a chance and see if you like any of the bands if you are into melodicore. –Donofthedead (Lobster)

Home on the Range Volume 1: CD
A Midwest comp with twelve more bands that ain’t worth the trouble it took to listen to ‘em. Apparently limited to 1,000, which is about the best thing I can say about this. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bingo Lady Record Collective)

Nearvana: CD
Oh, hey, look – it’s a Nirvana covers CD. Nirvana completists will probably want this. If you want mine, drive over to the front of my place and honk – I’ll come out and throw it at you (not TO you – AT you). Why? Because you wasted some high-priced gasoline to drive over here for nothing, except for a jewelcase-sized dent on the side of your vehicle. Shame on you for even considering it. –Designated Dale (Tinnitus)

No One Left to Blame: Twenty American Punk Unknowns ‘76-’82: LP
Yet another one of those Killed by Death-ish comps. This time around, the best stuff here is from (surprise!) my hometown of Milwaukee! The Prosecutors do a great, chaotic song not too far from the Replacements in sound! All right! There’s also Antler Joe and the Accidents with “Dogshit,” one of the more ridiculous songs I’ve heard lately. The rest of this album is pretty much take it or leave it, unless you’re a record collector. LOTS of bands that sound like either the Sex Pistols or the New York Dolls. LOTS of bands with fake British accents. If this were a cereal, it’d be one of those variety packs with lots of mediocre cereals from long ago that, sadly, the cereal execs were correct in discontinuing. Wow. Metaphor overload. –Maddy (Not listed)

Power of Ten: EP
A piece of the current Northwest hardcore scene is captured here. All bases covered from the more metallic side like Himsa, Left With Nothing, Contingent, to the more traditional sound of Spitting Teeth, and on to bands like Stay Gold, The Entropy Project, To See You Broken, The November Group, Screwjack, and Positively Negative, who are carving their own niches in hardcore. All in all, a pretty good comp. –Matt Average (1-2-3-4 Go!!!)

Ramones Forever: CD
An international compilation wherein bands from all over the map mangle Ramones songs. Most of the tracks blow sheep (unless techno versions of “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “Psychotherapy” are your cup of tea), and the remainder leave little doubt that Belgium should be wiped off the face of the earth. As far as “tributes” go, maybe they should’ve just walked up to the remaining Ramones and kick each of ‘em square in the balls. That would’ve been much less painful than having one’s name attached to this abomination. Oh, wait, Marky was involved in this. Guess he really, really needed the money. –Jimmy Alvarado (Radical)

920 Blues: LP
Whoah, I’m impressed! This is a comp of Wisconsin bands playing some flat-out rockin’ punk rock sure to make you tear shit up as you crank the stereo and shake your ass all over your parents’ living room. Ten bands representing, including the Reds, Shut Ups, Mistreaters, Teenage Rejects, and more. There ain’t a shitty song in the bunch, not even the track by the Strong Come Ons, whose seven-incher did nothing for me. Send every cent of your allowance to the address at the end of the review section. –Jimmy Alvarado (Trick Knee)

Bomb Threat: CD
Whooo-weee! Squeal like a piggy, boy! What we have here is a killer-dealer crazed cacophony from the Carolinas, and it’s cram-packed to the gills with a comprehensive representation of every possible genre of punkrock madness, mayhem, and manic inertia, whether it’s old school, pop, hardcore, scum, melodicore, ‘77-style street scruffiness, noise, a bit of bowery brattiness, new wave, or just a bare minimum of emo (and thank sweet Jeeezus for that!). Each and every ear-blastin’ ditty is fever-pitched and vigorously delivered with the utmost of passion, zeal, and liveliness. All 31 bands contained herein crank the tuneage to the max and enthusiastically give it no less than 110%. While repeatedly assaulting my audial senses with an explosive hefty dosage of Bomb Threat, I just could not sit still no matter how hard I tried. This is a solid, well-structured comp full of wild frenetic fury and the ultimate in energetic musical brashness. I fervently recommend it as much as I advocate sex, beer, rock’n’roll, and other sinful forms of depraved debauchery. It’s that damn deliciously addictive, folks! -Roger Moser, Jr. –Guest Contributor (Suicide Watch)

Chicago’s on Fire Again: 7" EP
Holy shit, this is a hardcore fan’s wet dream. A veritable who’s who of Chicago hardcore here, with Trepan Nation, Los Crudos (a track not available on their discography CD), Billy Builders, Charles Bronson (a Negative Approach cover) MK Ultra, Landmine, The Killers, Dangermouse, Authority Abuse, Strength In Numbers, and Kung Fu Rick, all scrunched up nicely on seven inches of wax. As can be expected, everything goes by in a blur, but shit howdy if it ain’t a glorious din. Four words kids: seek this fucker out. –Jimmy Alvarado (Lengua Armada)

Fire on the Brain Volume 1: CD
Assorted black metal shards courtesy of Gorguts, Behemoth, Internal Bleeding, Macabre, Jungle Rot, Withered Earth, and others. As can be expected, some of this is pretty terrible, but there are some pretty smokin’ tracks to be found here as well, most notably Angelcorpse’s “Wolflust.” If you can get past all the ye olde satanic silliness and the fact that the singers sound like pro-wrestlers backed by failed free-form jazz guitarists, you might actually find yourself enjoying some of this. –Jimmy Alvarado (olympicrecordings.com)

Killed by Hardcore, Compilation 2: LP
Retrospective. This is the second in the series after the tired but true Killed by Death series. I don’t think that this series will inflate an already inflated collectors market. The market for collectable punk rock is insane. God bless for bootlegs like this for me. The focus for this series is 1980 to 1985. This grandpa here was in his prime when this shit was coming out. Back in high school, I used to read Maximum Rocknroll like it was the bible. Reading about all the new hardcore that was coming out from all over the world was new and exciting to me. My brother and I sought out releases like they were going out of style. I heard a couple of MRR radio shows and listened religiously to the local punk show on KXLU. I think that was more important to me than listening to Rodney on the Roq. Smaller punk bands from all over were getting air time. To make a comparison of this comp, it has a similar feel and energy of Welcome to 1984 that MRR put out in 1984 and the P.E.A.C.E. 2xLP comp that Radical Records put out around the same time. International is the name of the game. Band names that were easily recognizable for me were Headcleaners (Sweden), Indigesti (Italy), Mecht Mensh (USA), Riistetyt (Finland), Suburban Mutilation (USA), Target of Demand (USA), E.A.T.E.R. (Sweden), Kuro (Japan) and The Abused (USA). That is only what I recognized! More is to be had here! It’s the same euphoria I get when I suddenly sneeze and a highly audible fart comes out simultaneously. Oh joy! Historically essential and it brings a tear to my eye for times long gone. Back to reality. –Donofthedead (Redrum)

Maximum Wage: CD
A pretty diverse sampling of underground sounds from groups channeling their energies into punk, art damage, dream pop and beyond. While some of the avenues explored here seem to just miss the mark, there are some stunners, courtesy of Simpler Machines, Mistle Thrush, Irish Crème vs. E-Rex, Brazen Hussies, and the always swell Buzzkill. –Jimmy Alvarado (Bureau of Dissonant Culture)

Neighbour Annoyer: LP
This is one o’ them post-Killed By Death boots that seem to be popping up outta the floor boards these days. This one has tracks mostly from the UK and mostly by bands I’ve never heard before. Much more diverse in sound than others of this ilk, this features the Pink Section, Scabs, Toys, Puncture, Vital Disorder, Visitors and others. If you find it, snatch it up. –Jimmy Alvarado (Address? Yeah, right)

Punch Drunk III: CD
This is a compilation from one of the my favorite labels, TKO. If you aren’t familiar with this label, crawl out of that damn hole and pay attention. They have been consistently putting of great punk bands since the mid ‘90s. Since then, I can guarantee that there has been at least one TKO CD on high rotation on my CD player at any given time. The Beltones, Reducers S.F., Workin’ Stiffs, Thug Murder, The Bodies, Bonecrusher, Antiseen, and The Forgotten are just eight of twenty-six bands here. Only one song is disappointing. It’s by Guitar Gangsters. It’s not that the song is terrible. It just isn’t that good. Other bands here are Limecell, Niblick Henbane, Terminus City, Sixer, The Generators, US Bombs, Bloody Mutants, Angelic Upstarts, Electric Frankenstein, The Stitches, The Partisans, The Riffs, East Bay Chasers, Hard Skins, Class Assassins, Those Unknown, and American Pig. Get out of that damn hole and check these bands out. –Toby Tober (TKO)

RAFR Volume 3: CD
It utterly amazes me to no end that this warped world of ours is literally crawlin’ with a suffocatin’ over-abundance of lame-ass money-hungry record labels whose sole sickening purpose in life is to market the blandest, most reprehensible music known to man, and on the receiving end of such weak-willed entrepreneurial worthlessness, ya have the fickle semi-comatose masses who blindly leech onto each and every corporate-produced trend-of-the-moment as if they were hanging on for dear life. But RAFR Records is truly a sparkling, effervescent glimmer of hope in a recording world full of stagnant plastic-coated shit! It’s dedicated, small-label mavericks like Martin McMartin who crank-out the tuneage in the name of sheer indefatigable love for the music. Mr. Marty obviously has a deep-rooted appreciation and a fervent heart-wrenching respect for the raucous roster of sonic ass-shakers in his charge, which includes only the most bad-ass, most loudly blaring of today’s rockin’-and-rollin’ trailblazers. His genuine excitement for releasin’ such attitude-driven aural unruliness is more contagious than a laboratory-produced strain of non-vaccinable smallpox. So you can damn well bet your sweet bippies that the RAFR comps have always consistently outblasted any and all other competition – major label, indie, and everything in between! Volume 3 is certainly no exception. It contains some of the most outrageously thundering bands to cacophonously kick out the jams while frenziedly unleashing the mighty roaring beast known the world over as ROCK-AND-FUCKING-ROLL (includin’ The Humpers, Mad Daddys, Motochrist, The Bullys, The Weaklings, The Superbees, The Kowalskis, Short Fuses, The Chicken Hawks, Damnation, The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, The Bellrays, The Fuzztones, Darlington, The Hellbenders, The Starvations, and so many more, it’s downright unbelievable!). Indeed, this is an eardrum-pounding plethora of audial decadence at its wildest and most ferocious! RAFR has once again restored my brew-slathered faith in rock’n’roll with this seminal collection of balls-out tune-crashers, and I aggressively implore you to drop everything right fuckin’ now and buy this disc pronto quick. And I don’t wanna hear no lame-ass excuses about bein’ short on cash. If that’s the case, then hold-up a liquor store, rob a bank, or filch your grandma’s social security check – beg, borrow, and steal until you’re completely breathless. Just do whatever it takes to acquire this disc by any means necessary (you’ll thank me in the afterlife, I promise!). What beer is to the spirit, what raunch is to sex, and what hedonism is to my personal philosophy of life, RAFR is to the future of rock’n’roll. Amen, and let us now shake our backsides silly! –Guest Contributor (RAFR)

RAFR Volume 3: CD
The latest installment in what has become an ongoing series, this time featuring the BellRays, Motochrist, Darlington, Starvations, Hellbenders, Fuzztones (a great song!), Furious George, Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Humpers, Mad Daddys, Candy Ass and a zillion others. Seein’ as RAFR stands for “Rock And Fucking Roll,” guess what most of these bands sound like. Good stuff to be found here if you like your punk to swagger. –Jimmy Alvarado (RAFR)

Reno: Where Dreams Come to Die: CD
Full-on, top-notch hardcore and occasional grind here from a bunch representin’ Reno. Most of the tracks on here are strong, and there’s no pop and no macho metal bullshit to be found anywhere. Features Redrum, Headgrenade, Vae Victis, This Computer Kills, The Livid, Bloody Victim, Iron Lung, All Opposed and the Scurvy Bastards. Damn good stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sedition)

Sonic-Xperience: CD
14 tracks of German EBM, electro, dark techno, synth pop and industrial. A collection of fab songs, give or take one or two. From intense throbbing EBM ala’ Massiv In Mensch to drama synth-goth by November Process, this is a great introduction to the latest German electronic vibes. The only bad thing is that the cover/back cover is in English, when the inside is all in German, including band bios. But, it still makes me want to kill people and drive fast. -Sarah Stierch –Guest Contributor (Sonic X)

Supersonic Sounds from the Fuck You Movement: CD
Someone tell me! Why can’t the established underground labels cobble together a compilation this varied and high caliber while some kid in his shit-town bedroom can? From the Charm City Suicides’ over-the-top version of Reagan Youth’s “Go Nowhere,” to the excruciating noise of Crank Sturgeon, Irreversible Nerve Damage and (MITB completists take note) Bastard Noise, to the fat grind/hammer damage of Suppression and Pus del Recto, and back to the fleshy and raucous punk rock of Kojak, ain’t a bad pickle in the barrel. And to ice this pickle cake, you’re treated to prank phone calls between tracks! Some of them are pretty funny, too. You have eight dollars, right? –Cuss Baxter ($8 ppd; C.N.P.)

Viva La Vinyl Volume 4: LP
Fifteen bands doing fifteen tracks of hard-hitting punk rock. Although there’s a definite lean towards the more “rock” side the equation, there’s enough tracks touching on other sub-genres to keep you on your toes. Best of all, there’s not a clunker in the lot. Highly recommended. –Jimmy Alvarado (Deadbeat)

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