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RECORD REVIEWS SPRING 2008

Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(KB: Kemp Boyd)(JC: Jesse Conway)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(JG: Jeff G.)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(TO: Tm Onita)(MS: Mike Sniper)(SB: Young Steve)(RSF: Rob Vertigo)

Thee Almighty Handclaps! "Works Okay" 7"
Second single from Iowa's Almighty Hanclaps, a rather nifty little bass/organ/drums trio whose self-released debut I was into. Sure, it's garage rock, but I like the no-guitar twist (although they foil that idea on the B-Side) and their approach is likeably simple, sloppy and shit-fi. "Walkin' Out" is soaked in organ, with a metronomic drumbeat that sounds like they got it from a can and hookily semi-tough vox from Banjo Kellie, with a little give-and-take with one of the guys. Recording has a real shittily crispy drum sound that I like. A good side. "Works Okay" is an autobiographical number that ditches the organ and fuzzbass, keeps the snappy drumbeat and vox but throws a guitar in. Bummer. It's peppy but unremarkable. Stick with the bass and organ combo! Who needs some stinking guitars? Not youse guys, I'm tellin ya! Scum stats: 300 pressed, 150 on black, 150 on red.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)

The Anals "Commando of Love" 7"
Debut, and quite possibly only, release from this two-piece digital-punk band from the wild streets of Metz, France. The tragic story is that one-half of this band (Benoit) passed away in late 2007, leaving this batch of recordings out of which Sweet Rot cherry-picked this single, although I've heard much of their output via CDR and this seems to be just the tip of the old iceberg. With links to AH Kraken and Electric Guitars and part of Le Grande Triple Alliance Internationalle de L'Est , whose triple pronged cross logo you've probably noticed on records by Feeling of Love, Normals (Seb Normal handled the recording on this) and other French genre-benders. "Commando of Love" is a synth-droner that tells a story of love in WWII. "Wake Up You're Dead" fills the flipside with a digital take on relentless Brainbombs-like beat-hammering awash with freeform guitar damage and desperate vocals. For fans of the more evil side of French gluewave. Scum stats: first 100 on white, the other 400 on black. Sweet Rot scores major points with this last batch of sleeves as well, wonderful glued pockets on textured paper with stark b&w art. (RK)
(Sweet Rot Records // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)

Barberries "Raw Deal" EP
Unknown-to-these-ears Atlanta garage band self-releasing their debut seven inch. Despite the obvious strikes against it (bad name, bad art) they manage to come up with a decent A-Side in "Americana Junkie", recycling a plodding garage riff we've all heard more than a few times and spicing it up with some wild slide/distortion guitar segues and by playing that riff even further into the ground than it already was when they found it with such conviction it's sort of admirable. Super dumb but fun to spin a few times. The B-Side plays to type with an uneventful garager called "Habitual" and closes with a mash-up in "69/70" that juxtaposes a quietly sung verse and mean and gruff chorus, pitting the hippies vs. rockers in lyrical commentary of sorts. Average at best. Doesn't come off as interestingly as I think they'd hoped it would. Scum stats: no details (500?), gray marble vinyl, sticker insert, creative variation on the 3/4 sleeve design though, some copies hand-colored by the band. (RK)
(Barberrie Sounds // myspace.com/thebarberries)

Black Magic Six “Evil Acupunction” CD
Paint by numbers generic garage rock from Helsinki. Black Magic Six deal with timeless subject matter. Topics such as having fevers, being evil, being cool, being dishonest, and ultimately being set free are all tackled here. These are issues that have plagued the Fonzies and Ponyboys of the world since the dawn of time. Do it fellas, don’t tell me about it. There is nothing remotely evil sounding about 'Evil Acupunction'. It's like putting up with some giant shit talker out at a bar. He goes on and on about how shit is about to get real, son. Then, in a matter of seconds he is on the ground and you can’t go back to your least favorite shithole in town. Fuck ‘em, didn’t want to be there anyway...wait, what was I talking about?(TO)
(Ahky Records // www.ahkyrecords.com)

Blanche Davidian “Orange Sunshine”
This first song alone has more “whoas", “ba-bas” and “hos” than the entire Epitaph Records catalog, circa 1996. Yeah, stupid, that is not a good thing. “There’s no crime if there ain’t no law, no S.T.D cops there to mess us around”. This is either a really random reference to the Damned’s “Neat Neat Neat” or a coincidence. This confusing line exemplifies the entire album. Thought things might turnaround with “Queef Action”, to no avail. Mike Hawk (get it) plays an 8 minute guitar solo, but I think that happens in every one of these train wrecks. “Orange Sunshine” has a lot of hooks and harmonies but I can’t see anyone over the age of 14 getting a kick out of this, which is odd because the pictures of Blanche Davidian in the liner notes show a couple of grown ass men making this music. The only thing this album did for me is make me type the word “queef”, which is a word that I don’t think I have ever had to put down on paper. Blanche Davidian seems like they might be alright dudes to have at a beer blast, they’re living the Sunset Strip life. I can see them now on an average night. They walk into their favorite bar, we’ll call it Chuggers, and drummer Hugh Jass opens up his coat to reveal his “Who Queefed?” t-shirt, they all have a chuckle and then, the no longer fucking around singer Jamie Monistat VII calls for order with the one thing that rallies the boys: “Who wants Jager-Bombs?!!” Let the party begin.(TO)
(Vodka Tonic Media // www.vodkatonicmedia.com)

Bloodshot Bill "So Special" 7"
The letter B installment of Squoodge Records ABC collector's series. I've heard some of BB before, and he's a pretty decent Canadian one man rockabilly act. Two originals and one cover, with accompanying stand-up bass on one cut. It's not as wild-n-wooly as some of his other stuff, but still greasy in a Haze meets Charlie Feathers fashion. Great vox, he gets some nice rasp on his pipes and does some good whoopin' as well. Sounds totally vintage, you could throw these on a volume of Desperate Rock'n'Roll or Kicksville and no one would be any wiser. I dug this more than any of you will I'm sure, but I've been listening to those Nasty Rockabilly comps a lot lately when no ones been looking. Scum stats: 100 copies, one-sided black vinyl. (RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

The Breeders "Mountain Battles" LP/CD
If you're a frequent reader of Terminal Boredom you may be aware of the editor's unrepentant fanboy stance when it comes to all things Breeders and Kim Deal related. It's one of those awkward one-way relationships that only true record-geeks can foster. But even the editor took a tough stand on the release of the 'Title TK' LP, a record he felt no connection with, emotionally or musically, and one of the bigger disappointments of his small music-consumed life. It's been six long years since that heartbreaking release (and fifteen long years since 'Last Splash' was released, think about that and try not to feel old...) and now the Breeders return, with their All Wave recording philosophy (all analog, no digital/computers/auto-tuning allowed, right down to cutting an all-analog direct-metal master for the LP) in tow, Kim and Kelley clean (I've heard reports they've even cut the smokes and drinks almost totally out) and with the same ex-Fear Hispanic rhythm section. After a month-plus of quality time with this LP, the editor is comfortable with calling 'Mountain Battles' a return to form, even if he does still miss Jospehine Wiggs just a little, but nonetheless, their strongest record since the 'Head to Toe' EP marked the end of the classic Breeders era. As one can imagine, from a purely sonic standpoint, this LP sounds great, with plenty of help from Steve Albini and others. Song-wise, it's a thirteen track mixed-bag, with only two or three duffers hidden between some not-so-surprisingly great songwriting of varied styles. The delicate pop of "We're Gonna Rise" is the single, and there's little to argue about that pick, with it's lazily exotic undertones and guitar crescendo highlighting the powers of the band. Even if the lovely Kim Deal is getting on a bit in age, her voice still sounds like that of a honeythroated chain-smoking angel. Sublime. The record opens with the shimmering wall-of-guitar shoegaze of "Overglazed" (tres 4AD sounding), through the playful drum-box angularity of "Bang On", the melancholic "Night of Joy" (which was beautiful when performed live), the hard-edged multi-layered post-punk blast of "German Studies" (actually sung in German as well), the sparse and 'Pod'-esque "Spark", but ends on a forgettably silly digression entitled "Istanbul". Still, an incredibly sturdy album side and well worth admission price on its own. Side B opens with a sunny and big-n-loping bassline led street-stroller ("Walk It Off", very 'Last Splash' in spirit), then segues into two songs I'd rather weren't on this record (Kelley singing a straight Mexican ballad and an acoustic country melody), but bounces back righteously with the slinky and groove-hitting "No Way" and and a lovely indie-punk cover of the obscure Dayton band The Tasties' "It's The Love" that will lull you into thinking it's 1991 again and punk is about to break...on DGC. The ending title track is low-key sonicscape with slurred vocal-talking, droning organ and slight guitar. An experimental ending, I'll grant them that. I never imagined this record would be non-stop hits, and it's not, but nine to ten stellar tracks make it well worth talking about and a fitting entry in their legendary discography. As discussed earlier, the LP is bound to sound better than the CD (and that's no bullshit, don't let some armchair engineer tell you otherwise) plus the vinyl comes with the expected free download and a thick and slick booklet of photos (a series of close-ups of shattered glass that includes the album sleeve art) that probably cost more to make than the entire runs of every other record reviewed on this page. I know some of you kids may be too young to remember when The Breeders were larger than life (they toured with Nirvana if that puts it in perspective), but for any of you longing for those days, picking this up is recommended. And you kids should buy it too, they don't make indie-rock gals like the Deal sisters anymore. Appreciate them and make the editor happy. (RK)
(4AD // www.4ad.com)

Brimstone Howl "2008 European Tour" 2X7" box
Deuce-pack of singles from a band of Midwestern cornfed rockers I'm always rooting for. Six songs on this package, including different recordings of a couple LP cuts (that sound far better) that are the A-Sides of each record, and the B-Sides being four newer ones. "Hopeless Destroyer" is going to be the hit off the next LP, and should become a live show staple (and already might be, judging from the last time I saw them) and "U.S.M.C." is a potent garage Punker with the capital P. Some nice hot licks on this too, the guitar player can whip off some righteous solos. Loud and straightforward recording style lends the Howl the immediacy they require to come across at their strongest, instead of the slick production that robbed them of their virility on the LP. Sort of an in-between release bridging the gap between 'Guts of Steel' and the 'We Came in Peace' LP due out in August. Sadly, probably for superfans only, as this thing is bound to pricey and rare in the US. The Euros win again. Scum stats: 500 on black vinyl, 100 on red vinyl, both come in a silkscreened box. (RK)
(P.Trash Records // www.ptrashrecords.com)

Brown Sugar "Deportation" EP
Tired of buying hardcore records that just sound like rewarmed LA punk? Then this one's for you. Eight legit blazers on this EP from a young band of roughs who may have some actual deportation problems amongst their personnel. Super hot and loud recording done via the steady hand of Mr. Ski Mask with one of the most blazing Ginn-like guitar tones of recent memory. Brown Sugar maneuever through their repetoire with surprising finesse, taking some time out for a non-meatheaded breakdown or three and tossing off licks so hot you could cook eggs on this kid's pickups. A startlingly refreshing synthesis of early Flag, the manliest moments of DC 'core and the best parts of Nine Shocks-ish Clevo-tardation. Americans playing American hardcore, no Jap/Finnish/d-beat/etc. influence here, just red, white and blue ragers. Barked by a kid who wasn't even born in the States, axework via a juvie who can barley buy his Camels legally, bass burl from a dude who made his distortion pedal from spare tank parts and heavy-hitting drumwork sewing things up tight. Most Creepy Crawlable record in ages from these Rookie of the Year candidates. Recommended for dudes who aren't pussies. Scum stats: 100 test-press tour edition, 500 regular press coming soon. (RK)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)

Catatonic Youth "Piss Scene" EP
There isn't too much I can say about this 7" that I didn't already say about the CD-EP on Fuck Jazz from last year, one of my favorite releases on any format.. It vinylizes both songs from that disc and adds "Freedom Vanilla" as a B-Side, a slower and a little poppier of a tune. Lazy digital beach-psych with more of that barking vocal effect that I dig so. One of my favorite releases of the year, no doubt. Diltz Barrett is a hit factory in the making and has helped me to understand that digital music can be made to sound cool as shit and maybe even punk-effin-rock. Fucking righteous. In a devious twist, the 'Piss Scene' EP does not even contain the song "Piss Scene", which might be Barrett's strongest cut to date. So watch for that, perhaps on the upcoming EP on What's Your Rupture?. Scum stats: one of HozAc's more elaborate jobs yet...similar packaging to the Fuck Jazz release, oversized mylar bag, "gold" edition of 150 is actually on clear vinyl, hand-numbered with those little circular price tag-things, fold out Pettibon-esque poster, b&w photo insert, hand-stamped labels, sweet pics on double-sided pic sleeves, B&W color scheme on the regular edition R&W on the special, I could go on...very nicely done by both the band and the label. (RK)
(HozAc Records // myspace.com/horizontalaction)

Chocolat "Gabrielle" EP
French-Canadian garage group with a Demon's Claws tie and part of the always hyperactive and incestous Montreal scene. The song "Gabrielle" is quite beautiful and has Chocolat exhibiting a rather unique sound, a quiet and brooding vibe with chimes adding a nice signature effect. French vox, piano, a sturdy backbeat with skilled bass playing, quiet tension building to an efflorescent rave ending. An emotionally satisfying piece of music, quite lovely. On the flip the do songs about two other people, "Johnny Depp" (hey, wasn't he in that movie...) which turns them into honky-tonk harmonicats and "Charlotte" which has them going the desperate blues route. A really exceptional A-Side backed with a somewhat unremarkable B-Side. Scum stats: 500 copies, 150 of them clear purple vinyl.(RK)
(Radio 81 Records // www.radio81records.com)

Creteens "Fuck the 80's Night" 7"
Letter C installment of Squoodge's alphabetically diabolic ABC Singles series. I've heard at least four Creteens singles, and there's maybe one or two good songs out of the bunch (that "Cocksucker" tune was a burner though). Three tracks on this, probably his most high-fidelity outing to date, sounds pretty crunchy. Two songs of blazingly loud punk from the Dwarves-via-early Reatards school and a third that's more of a slow pounder. Throaty and violent French-accented vocals and some string melting guitar work. Probably this kid's best record to date, too bad no one's really gonna get to hear it. For fans on mid-Nineties garage-punk scuzz without the blooze references. Scum stats: 100 copies, black one-sided vinyl, screened sleeves.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Crime Desire s/t CD
Collection CD of this contemporary San Diego hardcore outfit’s goods so far, just like the slightly better Waco Fuck CD a few scrolls down. The title of track one is a symbol. It looks like a beehive or a skeleton torso. That’s kewl. It’s also a morbid diatribe set atop some discordant sewer noise and grunting, warning humanity of our imminent demise. Y’ know, religion, lust, cruelty, power… all of these haughtily melodramatic, romantic concepts that doomy metalhead looking longhairs who’re too weird or too smart or too passive or too inept to participate in Punk’s less cerebral cousin espouse in basements instead of stadiums, and here in the form of comparatively minimalistic, mid-tempo metal-rooted hardcore tunes. Lots of sustained descending notes to let you know they’re sad. It wasn’t until halfway through the LP that the Sabbath influence reared its head, but a lo-fi, lighter and less rock-influenced incarnation of that simplistic chord progression/drumming style is in play. Two overlaying tracks of desperate, quivering vocals and distorted bass-heavy up-tempo blasters make the following “In Lucifer’s Grip” EP a fine, gothic, more violent throwback to the godly Peni. The second LP, “ID Music To Combat The Superego,” is bizarre. I assume it’s the same vocalist, but sounds oddly feminine… Like Joy De Vivre all coked up or something. None of this Castlevania-esque doomy stuff is a sliver as epic as it intends to be, but some good tunes come out of the attempts. And this is pretty good. (BG)
(Life’s A Rape // lifesarape.blogspot.com)

Dead Elvis and His One Man Grave "Get Outta My Grave" 7"
Dead Elvis and His One Man Grave "Shake!" 7"
Things the Squoodge guy likes a lot: One man bands. Gimmick records. Confusing pressing variants/sleeves/color vinyl. Releasing records only a hundred or so people might ever hear. I don't know, I kinda like they guy. He has to be throwing a TON of Euros into this label. I admire his devil-may-care attitude towards releasing insane records. Sometimes they're good, sometimes not. He could obviously give a shit about what anyone thinks about what he's putting out. I mean, it takes some nuts to release not one, but two limited seven-inches from a guy called Dead Elvis. It really is admirable in some crazy way. Do I even have to tell you what these records sound like? The guy is called Dead Elvis. He's a one man band. And one of the inserts on these is an advertisement for Dead Elvis t-shirts! Who the fuck is buying Dead Elvis t-shirts? Who? Tell me. I want to know. I guess there has to be some micro-niche of fans in Europe buying this stuff. I guess it's no more ridiculous than people in the States flipping over HozAc gold editions or something. Maybe not. I don't know anymore. This shit is crazy. Not the music itself, that's just really standard rock-n-roll-abilly. Competently played, I don't feel bad after giving them a listen. The wild shit is that these records are out there. The world is a crazy place, man. Thank you Mr. Squoodge for being as tenacious as you are. Scum stats: crazy sleeve variants on different colors of paper, one sided white vinyl, test pressing alternate sleeves, hand stamps, silk screens, you name it...(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Dead Farmers "Violence" 7"
Debut release from Australia's latest and greatest record label, Aarght! Records. Dead Farmers are a bunch of teenage nippers from Sydney who sound like a young and Antipodean Comets on Fire. Perhaps less bombastic and lesser-fi, but in the same spirit. Primitive psych-garage that crackles and moans and tries really hard to get your third eye open with some brute force and youthful exuberance instead of plying you with effects-pedal laden guitar pretension. "The Suns of Thunder" has a buzzing wah-solo that sounds like it's coming from a guitar player much older and more stoned than the kid actually playing it is. Wonderful. "Run" is a proto-bluesrock smasher. "Violence" sounds like a bunch of drunk teens gang-tackling the stoner rock idiom. A great debut, I see lots of potential here, and they certainly carry some punk with their rock. Really rough around the edges for now, and I like that, they come at a genre that sometimes takes itself too seriously with some juvenile moxie. Australia is really brimming with the goods these days...Scum stats: 200 copies.(RK)
(Aarght! Records // aarghtrecords.com)

Dead "Fish" CD
“Fish” doesn’t even have to be played and it has five strikes against it. These are some of the worst song titles that I have ever heard. This is what happens when card carrying Juggalos mature and expand their musical palette. My mind is absolutely blown. Sounds like some asshole left his guitar on his amp, left his parent’s basement, and turned on the laptop to capture the magic. This consists of minimal fuzz, beeps, tweaks, and random noises, mixed together and thrown into a wind tunnel. An endeavor like this comes from too much free time, too many late nights with Adult Swim, and too many gallons of Mountain Dew Game Fuel. I bet there was Game Fuel spraying from Dead’s little buddy’s noses when he announced such titles as “Dark Side of the Poon” and “Battlestar Chlamydia”. Dead might be able to hit pay dirt by trying to do scores for the never ending string of Saw sequels or some other straight to DVD horror bullshit. Take that mom, take that dad. Keep reaching for the stars.(TO)
(you really don't need to know...)

Dead Ringers "I Want Out" 7"
It must be tough being a generic pop-punk band in the Bay Area...no, no, waittaminute, it's probably great being a generic pop-punk band in the Bay Area, as I'm sure there are tons of kids still into this stuff. You'll never guess what the sleeve looks like, there couldn't possibly be a telephone on it, could there? No way. One of those bands that cite the Dolls/Thunders/Dead Boys as a main influence and leave you wondering how they turned the sound of those bands into this pap. I guess I'm being overly mean, but this shit is pretty bad. For fans of the Radio Reelers, if such people exist. Ten bucks says they got a good review in MRR. Look out for a Dead Ringers/Busy Signals split ringtone release soon. Or maybe not. (RK)
(Gimmie Danger Records // myspace.com/deadringerssf)

The Death Rays “Twelve Gauge Blues” CD
Hard motherfucking luck! “Bad Luck Charm”, “Nowhere to Go But Down”, "It’s Too Late (I’m Dead and Gone)”, The Death Rays are down in the dumps and someone needs to give them a hug...or maybe not. They seem to be having a good time down in the proverbial basement. Not too many surprises on this one. A healthy Stooges influence can be heard throughout, and maybe a little bit of the Murder City Devils for good measure. Like the Murder City Devils, The Death Rays have a song about being a trucker. I feel the same way about both songs, and that is if you are not a commercial trucker, than you should leave the subject alone. Maybe someone in this band is a trucker, I’m not sure and I don’t really care. Songs about being away from your baby on the road, driving 18 wheelers, and being a cowboy are dumb as shit. Yeah, yeah it might be an analogy for touring, I get it. Life on the road is hard, but if you miss your baby so much just don’t go on tour, pussy. Or quit your job as a ranch hand or truck driver or whatever the fuck hard luck task it is that you do.(TO)
(DTK Records // myspace.com/thedeathrays)

Deaf Wish "Freeze the Sound" 7"
More from the recently invigorated Australian underground in the form of this three song 7" from Melbourne's Deaf Wish. "Freeze the Sound" recalls the most noisesome moments of the Rough Trade-via-Flying Nun days (Straightjacket Fits?) via a tense wall of shimmeringly dark and moody guitar and depressed vocals that build to an unnervingly emotive and raw climax. "Take What You Want" explores similar territory as Sonic Youth did early on, building guitar structures and letting them fall loosely to pieces which segues right into "Mum Gets Punched in the Face" and its somewhat Truxy noise-punk leanings. Visceral guitar post-punk, quite surprisingly good and full of dark emotion. Another recommended platter from the down underground. Scum stats: 200 copies.(RK)
(Idget Child // myspace.com/deafwishstyle)

Death to Pigs "Carnal Carnival" LP
Death to Pigs hail from Nancy in Northern France and don't show any obvious ties to the usual suspects (the Metz connection, Paris' gluewave Happy Family, the Fatals/Magentix Nasty Product scene) which is sort of refreshing. And they're sonically quite different from recent French exports as well. Dark post-hardcore/no-wave sounds, nods to the Skin Graft roster and classic era Touch & Go, perhaps a less messy Mount Shasta or an amphetaminized Jesus Lizard (or a speedsludge Pissed Jeans for you youngsters who don't recall the early Nineties). Actually, they totally remind me of Mclusky, but a far better interpretation of what Mclusky were going for most of the time...less cutesy artschool shit and all-too-clever irony and far more actual agression. Both sides of this LP are packed with compact bursts of muscular post-punkrock heavies, built on the stalwart rhythm section that this style demands. Agile yet powerful drumming with the added weight of a deft bass player with a rich and burly tone cut through with sharp guitar slices. Very Denison-like, a prickly jazz influence, busting out some slide on occassion and keeping the distortion minimal yet potent. Vox are just right, not too over the top. Still a slightly weird and angry presence, yet one that doesn't detract from the sonic goings-on whilst conveying the required menace. Screams only when applicable. Very tasteful, and with little if no accent. Most of the sixteen cuts clock in the one to three minute range, keeping things brisk and jolting. Throbbingly good and deeply cutting with nary a dud in the house, this sits very well after repeated listens. A sleeper of an LP that deserves some notice from numbskulls (like myself) who never sold their Dazzling Killmen records. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Gaffer Records // www.gafferrecords.com)

Eddy Current Suppression Ring "Primary Colours" LP/CD
Perhaps my most anticipated release of the year. I was so completely taken by ECSR last year it bordered on obsession for a couple of months. There were entire days where the first LP didn't leave the turntable, and then I would get in the car and listen to the CD. Smitten. And the funny thing was it took me a few months to even think the record was anything exceptional. It just hit me like a tonna bricks one day. Which is why I hesitate to review this record after only giving it a month or so...somehow, for a band whose modus operandi is so simplistic, they manage to affect you really deeply. I saw a promo blurb about 'Primary Colours' somewhere that said it's a more 'mature' outing. I think I understand that, as it doesn't seem to be as exuberantly child-like as the first record was at times. There's no 'Cool Ice Cream' here...well, there is 'Colour Televison', but it's a different vibe. I think the content here is a little more 'serious', not like taking themselves too serious or grimly serious, but more about instrospective themes and the travails of living life and trying to be good while doing it. Honesty. A lot of this record is about honesty, about being true to yourself and true to others. Of course, ECSR convey the seemingly heavy emotional concepts I've perhaps self-imposed on these songs via their seemingly sparse arrangements that are wonderfully and deceptively thick...determined, workmanlike drums, bass-playing that could carry songs twice as dense, playful yet mature guitar playing and Brendan Suppression's everyman vocal presence that has you rooting for him with each line of lyrics. "That's Inside of Me", "I Admit My Faults" (perhaps the best song here, an instrumental mind you, that still resonates with emotion with a unique synth shimmer in place of any vocals), "You Let Me Be Honest With You" (a different version from the 7"), "I Don't Wanna Play No More", "Which Way To Go"...all songs with themes hinging on some self-doubt or with bridging the gaps of interpersonal relations. Sounds more mature to me. Yet it's an uplifting and can I say joyous record, without sounding too fey? It's wonderful, really, retains the smile-creating, seemingly effortless exuberance that made them so lovable in the first place while importing some deeper themes. A fitting sophomore full length, as they expand on the concepts and sounds set forth on the first LP, and a rock'n'roll record that manages to be both musically enthralling and emotionally resonant. If you're at all a fan, you'll be happy with this, and as cliched at it may be to say, thse songs really begin to grow on you with repeat spins, just as they did with the first LP.The more they hang around, the more you connect with them. Australian version on the Aarght! label, domestic CD/LP version to be released soon via Goner Records along with a repress of the first full length. Look out for a single on Iron Lung Records as well, which may be on shelves already.(RK)
(Goner Records // www.goner-records.com)
(Aarght! Records // aarghtrecords.com)

Factums "The Sistrum" LP+7"
I guess this would be considered the third full-length from Factums, after the Siltbreeze LP and 'Spells & Charms' CD, and if you've heard either you have an inkling of what's in store on this one. A baker's dozen of weird noisescapes and a few tracks that could be described as actual songs, which are actually quite good. Their next LP (on Assophon Records) is described as the soundtrack to a fictional movie, but isn't that what most of their records are anyway? And I don't mean this disparagingly, as Factums excel at what they do. This is mood music, eerie compositions/pieces that meander and stroll the hallways of your mind, scoring those little films that flit behind your eyelids as you sleep. Deep soundscapes that could roll during the credits of obscure Eurotrash thrillers, or during the stalker scenes in many a Giallo or amidst the flickering black-and-whites of underground art films. Instrumentation is warped and stretched to the purposes of the song at hand: drums far off in the distance, guitars tinkle, pluck, scrape, vocals are sometimes just a murmur and sometimes non-existant, synths gurgle, bleat, drone, sonar pulses, found recordings, birds chirping, static as an instrument, special FX of the audio kind...they have a deep bag of tricks. When they decide to actually play a 'song', like "The Climb", they show themsleves as a proficient band capable of evocative art-rock. Definitely not easy listening, but a formidable experimental music experience. The only problem I have with it is that it's tough to be in the right mindset or mood for this...it's more something you put on late at night while you do some reading or computer work. Not really suitable for daylight hours at all, but "The Climb" is still my favorite Factums moment yet. (RK)
(Sacred Bones Records // www.sacredbonesrecords.com)

Feeling of Love “Petite tu es un Hit” LP
I have to say that these guys are pretty fucking awesome, seriously. Feeling of Love have a great blues/garage mix. Throw in some really sloppy weird punk in the vein of bands like Pussy galore, the Cramps and you got a pretty fucking epic album. The whole album from start to finish is a fucking beast. My favorite tracks on the album would have to be ”Fat Bottom against Fat Bottom”, “Tongue Tattoo”, “Dad = Eat/Mum = Die”, “Yeah Baby Yeah”, and “Rapeman”. I recommend seeing Feeling of Love live if you get the chance, cuz they rule. I had the opportunity to see these dudes in Milwaukee and they killed. Unfortunately most people at the show watched a shitty local band before Feeling of love played, then sat at the bar in the other room acting all hip and shit. Stoopid!!! “Petite tu es un Hit” is a definite front runner for best album of 2008. Deal with it. (RFA)
(Yakisakana Records // myspace.com/thefeelingoflove)

The Four Slicks "...in Bonneville" LP
Mr. Jon Von (ex-MTX, Rip-Off’s), with his French pals posing proudly in front of his coveted ’63 Falcon station wagon (which he toured the US with in 2006, and ferried back to France from NYC at tour's end) adorns the cover of 'In Bonneville', the band's latest offering. The LP is a mixed bag of originals and covers by the likes of Bo Diddley, Hasil Adkins and The Sabres which can give you an idea where these Slicks are coming from: it’s straight up rock and roll with car/greaser imagery that could easily take a wide turn down Cornball Boulevard, but doesn’t. Credit the presence of Mr. Von, perhaps, because this style was never really one I fully identified with (I can’t even change a windshield wiper). If you can get past some of the goofy car/girl/cars and girls subject matter, though, it’s done pretty well and does indeed rock. It’s that wild, dance party rock and roll they set out to create and did it just fine. Scum stats: some records skip, according to a handwritten note— if yours does, send Jon an e-mail and he’ll send you a new one. Mine played just fine and came with a CDR of original versions of songs covered at some point by the Four Slicks.(LB)
(Slick Records // www.fourslicks.com)

The Foxx "Lila" CD
Second full length from New Mexico's The Foxx, who play a unique variety of sophisticated pop, sometimes of the power variety, sometimes in a classy Bowie/Bolan-like particularly British-glam vein, lots of lush instrumentation and some orchestral arranging. Really classy, and the line-up has changed a bit since their first release (which was the first promo TB ever received) which I didn't care for so much. They've added ex-Rondelle Juliet on vox and ex-Mirror (the Texan pre-Gris Gris band) Alan on guitar, with super-shiny production from the living legend Greg Ashley. If you want a good idea of where The Foxx are coming from consider some of the reissues Vinyl Countdown (label CEO Zac plays bass) has done: The Wind, Caspar Giles McCloud, Marbles...it's a mix of all that and a lot more. Like I said, sophisticated in the way Roxy Music were but still playing with some perhaps Pandoras-like juvenelia. Glittery all over but with a Motown-like R&B street sense as well. And honestly, this reminded me of Abba more than once or twice. Not something I totally love, it's like Rock'n'Roll Art School at times, but imbued with a rather unique hybrid of various genres that makes for some unique and theatrical compositions. Lovers of obscure and overproduced Seventies/Eighties pop should be able to dig into these ten tracks and come out fulfilled.(RK)
(Vinyl Countdown // www.vinylcountdownrecords.com)

Goodnight Loving "Drafted Into War" 7"
I'm way behind the curve on this one, but glad I caught up for the A-Side of this. "Drafted Into War" is nifty Sixties sunshine, upbeat and hand-clappingly charming with pretty back-ups by the pretty girls of Vancougar. Organ pumping is welcome here, as is that neat-o phasey guitar at the end. Phasey? I don't know, I'm no musician, that what it sounds like to me, like that trippy Electric Prunes reverb thing, but they use it in a shimmeringly light way here. A great song, they could have opened up a protest show at Golden Gate during the Summer of Love with this one. And this is coming from a guy who was uninspired by their LPs. B-Side has more Vancougar, which is the best thing about it. It's their typical country-tinged rock, darker than the A-Side and not as exciting and surprisingly short. Anyway, nice A-Side. Scum stats: original press of 300 on black sold out, repress of 200 on trash vinyl still available. (RK)
(Contaminated Records // www.contaminatedrecords.com)

Ideal Cleaners “Muchacho” CD
Not too shabby. This reminds me of a less dramatic Jawbox or a less biting Bluetip, which sounds like a bad thing, but is not. “Muchacho” is a tight, angular force that knows when and when to not drop the shit hammer (see “Year of the Rat”). Laid back vocal delivery meshes well with the sometimes deceivingly heavy, rumbling background. I imagine Ideal Cleaners would be a bitchin’ time live. If they weren’t, I’d be disappointed.(TO)
(Speed! Nebraska Records // www.speednebraska.com)

Bryan Joseph "Skeletons" 7"
And I quote from the website: "Two messy songs that sound like a few pre-teen kids got together and decided to record some songs in 10 minutes. The drums are clanky, the toy piano is very toy-like, and the acoustic guitar sounds like it's being strummed by a drunk... But the mood is pure FUN!... What's the point to this? 100 copies pressed." This uncredited blurb on the website really gets you thinking BJ wrote it himself. The toy piano sounds very toy-like? No shit? What's the point to this? Very good question. It seems like a case of someone getting the idea that anyone can make a record given a tape deck (or a computer, that's what I'm thinking) and a guitar and maybe a copy of Pro Tools and a casio. And not in a good way. I think he raps a little on the B-Side. Or at least says "Yo!' a few times. While I sat through this a couple times I imagined a Kids in the Hall skit parodying Blank Dogs with Bruce McCulloch as Mr.BD, sitting in front of a laptop saying "Skeletons..." over and over again into a mic while strumming a guitar with that wonderfully serious dunderhead look he did so well...If only this record were that entertaining. And please don't let this review confuse you into thinking this record is weird, funny or strange in any good way. It's just bad in a bad way. This is poorly done, even by TB's lax standards. It's only $2 to order, but I would seriously think about investing those two singles into a bag of chips and a soda before buying this.(RK)
(Green Lazer Records // greenlazer.info)

Les Hatepinks "Kindergarten Revolution: Oupupo Songs II" EP

I really do hate this band. Nothing redeemable about them. Squoodge lavishes these numbnuts with a sooper-deluxe package. A 22-page Hate-Le-Pink zine with color covers, inside of which are reprints of interviews, fliers, tour diaries and shit along with a "record reviews" section where they get all punk and cool and say Stooges and Flamin Groovies record suck. Wow, you guys are pretty sweet dudes. Idiotic. The record is part of their concept series where they give themselves a set of rules to follow for the recording. Last time they had to make up all the songs on the spot. This time they can only play toy instruments on the record. A gimmick that could perhaps be interesting if it were not carried out by a bunch of French no-talent tools. This record is awful, sounds completely stupid and they do a disgraceful Vom cover. Squoodgey, I love ya, but you gotta cut these fools off. Scum stats: 777 copies too many, with stickers and postcards included. (RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Hipshakes "Live at Rob's House" 7"
This one is live, loose and raw. The kind of live record that gives the indication a fun show was had, yet fails to convey this fully on record. The record (which culminates in a cover of fellow brits’ the Real Losers’ “Don’t Leave Me Now”), suffers a bit from a drum-heavy mix, while the playing is wild garage done fast and raucous. Now, I’m not a fan of live records for the most part, and this one didn’t convert me. It’s not the best recording from the Hipshakes I’ve heard, these tracks tend to be a blur of the songs probably played way faster than they were intended. Maybe not the case with the speed, but the blurriness is undeniable. This may be appealing to you, but I personally look forward to seeking out the studio records, which are all over the map on several labels.(LB)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

Hollywood "Hits! An Alltime Low" LP/CD
Debut LP from these Baltimore heavies who really shocked me with a stellar live show at last year's Big Neck fest. Stats sheet says this record was recorded with a three-piece no-bass line-up, but they've since added some extra troops, operating currently as the quintet I saw, and they can bring the scuzz. Twelve cuts on this bitch, but five of them are from their two seven-inches. Which isn't all that bad, as you now have blazers like the total noise-fest of "Human BBQ' (their finest moment in my book) and the Black Lips-go-heavy sounding "Girl?" in one place. Of the new tracks, "B&W" is notable for being a visceral pigfuck rammer, and a Pretty Things cover ("Cause I'm A Man") they run through the meat grinder and the cautionary tale of "Toucher" make things likeably uncomfortable. An ode to Mrs. King Adrock "Ione Skye" is the best new thing here though. Bart seems to have found the band that could possibly replace the Mistreaters in the Big Neck stable now that they seem to be put out to pasture. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

Leper Print "Coma" 7"
I feel a special affinity for the music of Leper Print...not that I know Kyle personally or anything (but he seems like a real nice kid), but back when TB first got rolling, he would always send me his CDRs, which were some of my favorite releases at the time, and LP's was one of the first MySpace pages I would regularly visit to listen to songs. A good example of how sending out some CDRs and getting some hits on your Myspace can get some great records made, sort of the modern paradigm for indie acts. I sort of feel I was able to watch the progress of this 'band' from inception to demos to vinyl releases, of which I think this sadly may be the last, as Kyle seems to be concentrating more fully on his full time role in Meth Teeth. This would be a fitting swan song at least, as "Coma" may be the best of all Leper Print material, an off-kilter bedroom synth-punker, fed by some frantic live drumming and an unstoppably brain-penetrating synth-lead that dies on the vine viciously at the mid-way point before coming back with a vengeful return. Two on the flip, the emotive drone of "Dead Flowers" and the all-punked-up "Phobia". I always enjoy the savagely lo-fi mix of live drumming and strings with some visceral synth attack Leper Print provides, as should you. Nice and thick screened sleeves, the best in quality as always from Findlay, Ohio's finest record label. (RK)
(Die Stasi Records // myspace.com/diestasi)

Livefastdie "Buzz Buzz Buzzard' 7"
The great thing about this, besides it being a fucking LFD record, is that it sounds loud as fuck. None of this six-minute sides at 33rpm thin-groove bullshit for the mighty LFD. This thing rips at fourty-fucking-five crushing rpms of raw dawg guitar stank. "Buzz Buzz Buzzard" is the theme song for the best fucking cartoon character never really invented. What a can of worms to open on my mind, think of the possibilites...imagine the LFD cartoon. Fuck Felix the Cat, Buzz Buzz Buzzard would be fucking the animated world up...well, actually he'd probably just be puking all over the floor and shotgunning beers with the cartoon version of Sarim of Denmark, then they take acid and get transported to badtripsville with illustrations by Mike Sniper...it would be pretty fucking epic though. If anyone deserves their own cartoon...fuck, what don't LFD deserve? Endless marketing possibilites...LFD Genuine Draft 50 oz. bottles (because 40 ain't enough), the Camero Werewolf signature guitar, LFD diet pills, the LFD Falafel Shop....whatever. I'm getting stupid here. LFD just get me excited. Killer fucking song, with synth solo! Catchy isn't even the word. B-Side is called "(He's Got) Pecker Breath". Jesus. What a great fucking world we live in. Surprisingly poppy for an LFD tune. And I love it when Camero just starts the song off with a balls-out wailing solo, fuck waiting for the middle of the song. Thank you Livefastdie for breathing life into punk rock's bloated corpse. Things I still want: lyrics to all LFD songs and someone to comp all the singles on a double LP. Thanks in advance. Scum stats: 300 copies, which seems like about 200 too few.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy Records // myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)

Lothar “Supercharged” CD
Disclaimer from Lothar: “Tighten your seat belt. You never had a trip like this before.” No, can’t say that I have ever had a trip like this before. What can be said with certainty is that if I ever spot a trip like this on horizon I will drive my supercharged muscle car right off of a fucking cliff. “Supercharged” revs up with the well-thought out “Eat My Wiener”, a fist pumping romp through the horny world of Lothar. “Eat my wiener, taste the man, bite my balls” the song sounds less about getting a blowjob and more about actually having a woman eat your penis. Awesome! It is hard to tell if Lothar are trying to be funny or this is the kind of shit that flies in Finland. Lothar obviously have a sense of humor (see superimposed Beatles parody in liner notes), but the line between having a laugh and actually sounding like a joke is blurred here. What we are left with is a collection of hard rocking songs with retarded lyrics, there is even a sad ballad about losing a girl because of the drink. Every bad boy has a soft side.(TO)
(Lorna Records // www.nic.fi)

Love Tan s/t 7"
Love Tan are the two-piece formerly known as The Pyramids (which was a great name, who gives a fuck about any other limpdickers with the same moniker, should've asserted your claim fellas...) with their debut single via Vancouver's Sweet Rot label. They pack six songs onto this, which should give everyone a taste of what they're capable of and leave 'em drooling for the full length upcoming on Kill Shaman (they also had a cassette release rumored that I don't think ended up happening). One of these dudes is also a Factum (and ex-Intelligence) which should hint at their sounds a bit, but only a bit, as they spread their wings wide thoroughout this half-dozen. At times they could be placed beside Ohsees and Sic Alps via their lo-fi neo-psychpop talents ("This Land Is No Good" and the accompanying falsetto vox or "Brush Your Teeth" and it's playful bedroom guitar rock). They show more range than just that record-review shoehorning however. "Berlin Rumble Part One" builds a creepy little Factums-like droner on guitar pluck lifted from the Night Gallery theme, "Horse" is reminiscent of minimal A-Frames rhythmical-drone shattered by blasts of drumbash and snakey guit-slide and they close up shop with "Ring Ring" that brings to mind the mean and twisted Anglo-pop of Tronics. This one should be a smash and bridges the gap nicely between cutting edge West Coast scenes (Seattle and the Bay Area, sort of A-Frames meets latter-day Sic Alps) with a post-punk UK angle. Scum stats: 100 on white, 400 on black, again, beautiful textured paper pocket sleeves. (RK)
(Sweet Rot Records // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)

Lover! "No More Reasons" 7"
Lover seems to getting better with each release, at least for me. After being left unfazed by the first LP on Empty/PTrash, I was hooked into the "Gathered in the Graveyard" LP. Rich Crook has made me a believer in his songwriting prowess, something I think his Knaughty Knights tracks surely hinted at but didn't come to full realization until he struck out on his own. The only fault perhaps being that sometimes his pop songs get a little too similar sounding over the length of an LP, but I think he's crafted his best single here. I'm preferring the B-Side on this one ("All Alone"), as it has a desperate and somewhat downcast disposition that I think is his greatest attribute. Plus, it has a killer drumbeat. Let's not forget what a monster he became on the kit after the relentless touring with Lost Sounds, by the end of their tenure he was quite possibly one of the best drummers in sport. "No More Reasons" is a hearty slice of his treble-laden guitar-pop with some hooky axework and a chorus many power-pop bands would yearn for. This side's the hit, no doubt, but I've always been a B-Side sort of guy. Excellent self-recording work by Crook as well, boomy low-end drum sound balances the high-end guitars/vox nicely. Scum stats: 150 copy Gold Edition with alt sleeve, 500 more on black.(RK)
(HozAc Records // myspace.com/horizontalaction)

Man Made Monster "Because She..." EP
More total insanity from Squoodge. Let's just get the gimmick shit out of the way first: this thing comes in a huge over-sized screened sleeve, which then comes inside a silkscreened mini-tote bag, with a button thrown in for good measure. Ridiculous but good looking. MMM are an Austrian two-piece playing spookafied garage-trash. Think The Beguiled, but European and not as good. But not terrible either, three female-themed good-to-average tracks here, totally likeable for what it is, a little wild, good lo-fi production, not as cheesy as it appears, they play a solid hand here. I've been down this road before plenty of times, but this wasn't a bad trip. Plus, one of the tunes is called "Space Vagina". Scum stats: aside from the aforementioned accessories, this is 99 copies on one-sided black vinyl, with the blank side splattered with some thick red paint/blood. I'm sure the 98 Europeans who own a copy are very happy with this, and rightfully so, as this would be a decent Euro release even without all the trimmings. (RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Manikins "I Am That Guy" 7"
The Manikins have been churning out the records for quite some time now, the flagship P.Trash act way back when who are now on their fourth or fifth LP along with at least a half-dozen singles. They've released some likeable power-pop material here and there (I still think the first 7" was best, but that's such a typical thing to say even if it is true). Definitely skilled musicians even if the song-writing isn't always up to snuff, I think they could be (or maybe they already are?) big with that neo-power-pop segment digging Statues, Tranzmitors and other post-Exploding Hearts stuff. Beats the shit out of also-rans like Plastic Letters or New Town Animals and that shit. A little on the tougher/punker sounding side of the spectrum, here they toss of a decent Compulsive Gamblers cover and a good against-type wavey-punk tune called "Pop Delta". The trick here, is that it's a "double-grooved" record, meaning depending on where you start the needle you can hear either song. Took me a frustrating few tries to figure this out. Fiendish. This guy loves putting out trick records, whether they're called for or not, and I do thank him for making lengthy review sessions a little more interesting. Anyway, a solid release for fans of the style. Scum stats: 177 copies, one-sided double-grooved, the blank side has a nice silkscreen on it. Nicely cut and screened sleeves as well. Really, this thing looks awesome.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Dan Melchior und Das Menace "She's So Blank" 7"
The past two years have seen such a rush of DM vinyl that it's tough to stay on top of it all. You're listening to his latest LP while eating lunch and there's a new 7" relased before you finish dinner. How he keeps the quality up is unknown, perhaps Letha is ghostwriting stuff while he takes naps between recording sessions. He certainly seems to be more prolific since his retreat to North Carolina (and he was releasing stuff at a good clip before that anyway), but I get the impression his "exile" has allowed him to really stretch out, uninhibited by bandmates (aside from his wife, the only other member of Das Menace that I know of) and being a self-sufficient studio 'band' able to record at will. He's on a roll, let's put it that way. "She's So Blank" is mellow folk-rock driven by a nobly psychedelic guitar that sounds a bit sad, with deadpan conversational vocals and a chorus echoed by male-female voices. "Positively 14th Street" is mechanical post-punk, stream-of-consciousness lyricizing and he backs his own vocals up on the chorus. His most British sounding release after some of the more Americana-referential moods on recent releases. Melchior singles are always quality, it just comes down to personal preference as to which ones stick with you more than others. I'm sure this guy has plenty more irons in the fire as we speak. Any Melchior release is worth your time, making this no exception. If you haven't heard him yet, this is as good a place as any to jump in the ring. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)

Miss 45 “Steals the Show” CD
Miss 45 isn’t stealing any show. Singer Deck Fransico goes on about “it” being the same old song and he couldn’t be anymore right. If you are going to wear polka dot scarves, play rock and roll, sing about hanging around and having nothing to do, you better add a little something. These guys sound like they are bored and I don’t blame them. “No, bro. It’s all about the live show!” I bet their show is filled with more than enough mugging, posing, grimacing, finger waving and pouty-lipped chicken strutting, but whose isn’t? Shit, you should see how good I look when me and my little Jeannie Sue step out to the malt shop. One song mentions listening to the New York Dolls. No shit! You guys are into them? Never would have guessed that. I had sex at a truck stop once and it was great. Popped in about 45 seconds and it was totally fucking awesome. That was like the Dolls’ “Looking for a Kiss”. You could listen to “Truck Stop Love” and the rest of “Steals the Show” a thousand times and all that would be like is a kiss on the cheek from your Alzheimer stricken grandfather. No one should sing about having nothing to do anymore. Pick up a fucking book or help some war widows for Christ’s sake.(TO)
(No Talent Records // www.notalentrec.com)

Mome Raths "Vaporized My Brain" CD
I'd be lying if I didn't mention the fact that the real reason this got into the review pile instead of going into a package for the next installment of Garbage Can was the fact that they thank Jesus a lot in their liner notes. Turns out they don't have any religious content in any of their songs, but it's that one little thing that got me interested. I'm at the overload point where a Jesus reference turns my head...it's far more interesting than the usual 'No thanks to anyone!' cool dude liner blurb or the standard listing of every band they've ever played with. So, I was hoping for some really intense Christian weirdness, which didn't happen, but still got a pleasant surprise. And pleasant is the word. Mome Raths pay tribute to Budget Rock hall-of-famers like Supercharger and The Mummies and even mix in some Loli and The Chones and Zodiac Killers Rip Off-erings. I was thinking bad pop-punk when I slipped this in, but it's really well played garage-punk. Not really lo-fi stuff, the recording is of studio quality and good and loud, but not overly slick. Great girl-guy trade-off vocals (the girl has a great snot-punk wail) and they do goofy shit about "MacGyver" and "American Werewolf" offset with snappy and sappy garage-pop numbers like "Soda Pop" and "Bubblegum Pop". I spent a sunny afternoon with this in the car and had a good time. Seventeen tracks is a bit deep for this genre (they could've shaved a half dozen or so off), some of this is really cornball and they're so squeaky clean it almost hurts, but this would be a good starting point for your little sister/brother just getting into the game and looking for something more modern than the first Donnas LP. A nice record from what I imagine are some really nice people.(RK)
(Rathcore Records // myspace.com/ilikethemomeraths)

The Monsters "World's Smallest Record" 2"
Why? Because he can, I guess. Sir Squoodge releases the world's smallest record. It works, but it's a bitch getting your turntable to play it without wanting to auto-return. Even says there's two tracks on the B-Side, but I don't have the patience for this. I hear Spazz are firing back with a 17" EP. Let the World's Largest Record competition begin! Scum stats: 200 copies, look like a lathe-cut, with a little fold over envelope.(RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

Mouserocket "Pretty Loud" LP+CD
Taking their time to work on 'Pretty Loud', Mouserocket return with this second full length. An interesting collection of songs herein, ranging from moody post-punk to noisy and straight-ahead rockers. It all blends together well, with some tasteful and effective cello work throughout the album, which is laden with catchy songs, regardless of the direction they take. There is no denying the talent of Alicja Trout, but Robby Grant's songs ain’t too shabby, though those are the ones who lean more towards the indie side. Which isn’t a bad thing when the songs are good and they are, for the most part. I could see this album sitting in a college rock radio station, blowing away everything around it and subsequently being ignored by idiotic college radio people. ‘Pretty Loud’ is a likeable album, concluding with a Jay Reatard “electro mix” of “Missing Teeth”. It’s a bit of an uneventful end, though. Pleasantly surprised at how much I’m digging this right now, my only disappointment being the label only sent the free CD that accompanies the vinyl, which left me unable to fully appreciate Miss Pussycat's cover art. Scum stats: unknown, though my free CD came in an orange envelope. Perhaps others come in different colored sleeves…make sure to collect ‘em all.(LB)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)

Pink Noise "Sun King" EP
Almost Ready, not happy with dominating the world of compilations, is stepping out with some stellar full releases from North America's finest acts, among them the debut single from Canada's Pink Noise. If you've heard the demos, World's Lousy cut or LP (which this single prededed), you know the score. Mr.PN is giving Mr.BD a run for his money in the minimal-bedroom-psych-weirdo department. "Huntsman" is some of his more aggro stuff, sounding a bit more like Mr.CY than Mr.BD with that crunchy backbeat driving the car while he steps on a synthesizer instead of the brake. It's almost punk rock and one of his best in my humble opinion. "Soda Jerk" retreats to the land of brain-damaged exotica bongobeats and tropical keyboard tickling. He's almost rapping on this one. Weirder by the minute. For "Thunderbird" he steals the synth sound from a Miami Vice montage where Crockett gets suspended and drinks beers on his boat with his alligator while Tubbs goes undercover and stalks some greasy Cuban coke dealer in a disco in order to show Edward James Olmos that Sonny was right all along about arresting that crooked lawyer, since he was secretly funding the operation all along. It's pretty tricky. The video for "Animals" should be a time-lapse sequence of traffic on the QEW going to Toronto on a cool Sunday night, all blurred headlights, jerky lane changes and fresh Lake Ontario breezes. It's motion in audio format. Obtuse. A great record, surprisingly upbeat, the type of solo-work that plays well in the daylight instead of the 3:00am total-darkness listening some of his genre contemporaries excel at. Well played Mr.PN, well played. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)

Pink Noise "Dream Code" LP
Going by my usual synth-phobic scale of predetermining whether or not I will like a record based on instrumentation, I should hate this with a passion. Yet, confounding even myself, I find this record quite invigorating. Hardly any actual non-synth instruments are played, aside from some heavily processed guitar here and there. All keys and drumboxes as far as I can see. Why do I like this? I think it's PN's knack for salvaging some of the seemingly worst keyboard sounds and synth effects and making them sound so absolutely cool in an absolutely non-ironic way. Many of the sounds here are so familiar. But just vaguely so. But I know these beats and synths...from Eighties action movie soundtracks, sci-fi television, z-grade horror flicks of the glorious longbox VHS days or from actual bad synth-rock from days of yore. It's like the work of Jan Hammer or the theme from 'Beverly Hills Cop' or mood music from 'Tales from the Darkside' episodes or some deep cuts from a John Carpenter score...but reworked into something new and refreshing. I swear, some of these tracks are the background music to bizarro versions of those 'How It's Made' Discovery Channel docu-shows. It's nuts how this guy patches these odd parts together, it's like the futuristic sounds of tomorrow, if today were 1986 and we were watching a made-for-TV sci-fi film or some bizarre corporate training video. The vocals help a lot, very low-key and nondescript, not that tricked-out with effects, but just a sometimes confused sounding monotone that lulls you further into the songs. The lyrics aren't all that decipherable so it plays more like another layer of instrumentation. Another thing that I thought would turn me of, is that there is little if any aggression on this record. It's mellow (if totally weird) vibes all the way, and it becomes the strength of these compositions. It's far less dark and introspective than most practitioners of the bedroom recording arts. Not exactly sunny, but somehow bright with a slight sense of creep as well. This record has character, man, and gives off a hard-to-describe warm and organic feeling via some very mechanical means. You can't really pick out individual tracks here, you have to eat this as a whole. A display of musical oddities that I can't get enough of, high scores all around.(RK)
(Sacred Bones // www.sacredbonesrecords.com)

Plastic Stars "Sheena Gets Around" 7"
Not sure why they would send this to me. Sounds like Blink 182 with a keyboard. I shouldn't be wasting your valuable internet time with even discussing this, but I feel everyone who takes time to send me vinyl should at least get an honest appraisal. Sucks so bad, I think I might rather listen to a Plastic Letters record. In some strange way, this record makes that Bryan Joseph 7" sound like the work of a genius. You still shouldn't buy it. The BJ record, I mean. I know you had no notion of purchasing this. These reviews are getting awfully conversational. I need sleep and/or more coffee. Not surprisingly, these guys are from Florida. See what's going to happen if you leave Orlando, Rich Evans? It's all going to turn into this!(RK)
(No Front Teeth // www.nofronteeth.co.uk)

Rational Animals "Perception Becomes Reality" EP
Though the Rational Animals were spawned in Rochester, I’ve had the ability to watch them quickly turn into a raging hardcore punk unit as they make frequent trips to the dark and smelly basements here in Buffalo often. Drawing influences (some more obvious than others) from early and mid-80s hardcore punk's darker side, these Rational Animals are a young and inspired band that seem to be improving at a rapid pace. For this, their debut record, they took the right path to local guru Mr. SkiMask’s Electric Pumpkin Patch Studio on New Years Day 2008, and came out with this blistering six song EP. They mix the pain and misery of Black Flag’s later period with the rage and speed of their earlier period at times, conjuring up some powerful shit here. There’s some jagged guitar work, similar to a fork in the eye at times, with an urgent and pounding rhythm section backdropping the desperate cries of the vocalist. Side B slows the tempo down substantially on the opener, "Tell Me What You Want" and it winds up being what is probably the record's strongest track. The winding guitar riff fits the mood just right on this one, which precedes a wild instrumental and the very Flaggy “Visions of Death”. More raw and well-executed hardcore punk rock rising from what seems to be a single basement. Feral Kid received this record from the plant and RA were in a van (with pals Brown Sugar) 48 hours later, embarking on a two week tour. So maybe you haven’t heard them yet, but if everything works out as it should, you will.(LB)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)

Raydios "Rock Brochure" 7"
It's the fucking Raydios. That should be review enough for you right there. Go buy this. Remember the days when every other word you typed was about Teengenerate or Tweezers or Firestarter? The frantic mailordering from Recordshop Base? It was a good time. I was always more of a Registrators guy, but you can never deny the far-reaching influence of Teengenerate. They could be cited as the reason TB exists...I discovered Blank Generation looking for Teengenerate discography info, and then met Joe Domino and his band of merry men through that, who went on to become the backbone of TB...real men like Mitch Cardwell, Todd Trickknee, Icki, Jeff G. and most of all Young Steve, who I will think of whenever I hear TG for the rest of my life. It's Steve's passion for all things Fink & Fifi that made this seemingly impossible record happen. I never thought I'd hear another Raydios song or at least not one on an American record label. So thank you Steven for making this release a reality. Now, can you please tell me what a "Rock Brochure" is? Translation problems aside, it's a great song, equal to anything either brother has done post-TG. Potent guitar-based rock with impeccable pop style and more than a little punk. The flip of "Fast Boy" is the lesser, but still a major rocker. I thought it was called "Fat Boy" for a minute, which would've been a little funnier, but's a good one nonetheless. A little poppier than anything the Raydios LP and closer to Firestarter territory, but any Fink is good to me. And it's exclusive to this release, while "Rock Brochure" will be available on the Mangrove full length (CD only), released exclusively in Japan. So far. Steve, help us with that. Scum stats: 500? Probably not enough. Don't get caught buying this on eBay for $40 in five years, invest some smart money now.(RK)
(Three Dimensional Records // myspace.com/threedimensionalrecords)

Jay Reatard "Singles 2006-07" 2XLP/CD+DVD
Compilation of Jay Jay's 'tweener years, documenting the days between his final dissolution of using The Reatards band-name and the beginning of his assault on the upper echelons of indie-rock as a one-man studio machine. You get everything from the two Goner singles, the pretty bad 'Night of Broken Glass' 12", the forgettable Squoodge 7" and his track from the Chinks split and the Blood Demos Aussie release. The DVD compiles various live clips with his Boston Chinks backing band from 2007. Aside from "Hammer I Miss You" and the demos, this is some of my least favorite Jay Jay stuff. And please don't consider that comment as some jive-ass bullshit where I don't like it just because he's popular now. I like 'Blood Visions' OK. But I'll always love 'Teenage Hate' and his early work more, which is probably why I listen to Fag Cop 7"es more than any of his recent releases. There are a few undeniably great cuts here, and it tidies things up nicely for newcomers and anyone who got skunked on those Euro releases. I'll always take "Blew My Mind" over any of this any day. Still love the guy, but I'm more into trash than his admittedly well-written pop stylings. But that's just me.(RK)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

Seger Liberation Army "Down Home" CD
Repackaging of the two Big Neck SLA singles, plus four new ones, making for eight total tracks of Motor City goodness. For the unititated, SLA is an all Seger covers project led by none other than the legendary Thomas Jackson Potter (Bantam Rooster, Dirtbombs) with co-conspirators including fellow ex/current D-bombs Jim Diamond and Pat Pantano, Nick Lloyd (Dirtys, Luxury Rides), Jim Weber (Gaunt, New Bomb Turks) and other Detroit heavies. The singles tracks are long-standing favorites around this household, in particular their killer renditions of "2+2=?" and "Chain Smokin'". Amongst the new tracks, there's a heavy rolling and unflinchingly spot-on "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" and a sharp version of "Florida Time" that add enough extra juice to warrant a purchase of this if you already own the singles. Heavily-fuzzed out as always, this hits the streets just in time to act as soundtrack to your summertime BBQs and fishing trips. Potter is one of modern garage-punks more under-rated heroes, and as far as I'm concerned everything the guy touches is gold (well, maybe the Detroit City Council notsomuchso, but the rest of his oeveure is aces...), and this project is just as good as any Dirtbombs 'Play the Songs of...' deal. Look out for the debut 7" from Tom's latest band Chrome Spiders on Big Neck real soon as well. The only bummer is that this is CD only, but it's hard to listen to an LP when you're carving through Lake Erie in a ChrisCraft packed to the gills with broads and beer anyway.(RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

Smith Westerns "Irukandji" 7"
Scouting report on these kids said they do a sloppy Black Lips-style thing, and I had some high hopes after viewing the trailer for their film Punk Agenda, which looks like the teenage-punk Deadbeat at Dawn. So, I guess I get the Black Lips thing, but I have no qualms with it, I think the Lips shadow has some real worthwhile denizens living inside of it. Sloppily shouted gang vocals, ghostly lo-fi guitar twang, dark garage revisionism, distant sounding recording techniques...the formula is there. The title track is probably the least Lippy and the most enjoyable, an off-balance punk-bouncer with a really high treble guitar lead, creeping bassline and messy drums. "Crabman" is slapdash downbeat garage and the flip ("Spiritus Sanctus") is no-fi slow-n-jangly hippie-punk. I'd like to hear more like "Irukandji", which has them sounding like some exciting young, dumb and full-of-cum punks. The other two tracks deserve the B-Lips comparison, and they don't sound all that great doing it. I'm gonna stay tuned though, if only to see Punk Agenda hopefully realized to it's full potential. Scum stats: 150 copy gold edition with alt sleeve, 500 on black.(RK)
(HozAc Records // myspace.com/horizontalaction)

Strange Boys "Woe Is You and Me" 7"
I had no idea ITR had inked the Strange Boys. Not really shocking, as they can perhaps slide in nicely between the Mystery Girls and Deadly Snakes, but aren't nearly as good as either. Fried Texan jangle-folk here, maybe a more hillbilly-inflected Goodnight Loving. "Woe Is You and Me" just sounds kind of precious...the barely enunciated vocals, the twangy country shambling. Aw shucks. The flip is a cover of "Baby Please Don't Go" that they play in an off-balance honkytonk style...real rootsy. It's an interesting interpretation, but this kid's nasally vocal slur comes off real hokey to me. I keep picturing the Little Rascals jamming in the clubhouse. Not fair, I know.(RK)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

Alderman Swindell "Loved Me Back" 7"
Alderman Swindell is one chap from London playing all instruments and home-recording. Sounds like he's using a laptop/ProTools and not keeping it real with a shitty 4-track or tape deck. Pretty fucking slick is what I'm saying. Mostly acoustic guitar (multiple tracks worth), bongos/tambourine percussion and some slight drums, keyboard/piano, handclaps, multi-tracked vocals and smooth back-ups. Very poppily twee, but blandly so, even Beatlesesque at times, and not in a good way (if there even is a good way to sound Beatlesesque)...think So Cow, but without the child-like charm and not as crafty a songwriter. Pretty rote stuff, no surprises. Well, the song "Restraining Order" borrows liberally from "Tequila", that's surprising (unintentionally so, I assume). Kind of an odd release from Rijapov, not sure what Gigi was thinking here. Maybe he was hypnotized by Alderman's movie-star good looks, proudly on display on the back cover. Who knows. Scum stats: 100 on clear, 400 on black. (RK)
(Rijapov Records // myspace.com/rijapovrecords)

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE "Mechanically Repetitive" LP
Absolutely ridiculous concept record that is supposed to be a vinyl 'obstacle course' and comes with a massive booklet that talks a lot about Merzbow, philosphies on what noise is and explanations of the various loops, samples, re-recorded sounds, lock grooves and whatever the hell else is on this. No music here, just a Dada art/science project from a guy who appears to know what he is talking about, and this could be some genius-level audio lesson here, but what do I know. I listen to rock'n'roll. I would say you could get high as hell and maybe enjoy fucking around with this, but...no, I don't even think that would help. There's an extra hole drilled into it so you can play the B-Side "off-balance" preventing normal spiraling-in play for a different experience each time. Disclaimer states "Damage to the needle may occur". Yeah, let me throw this right on my turntable. This thing probably killed at the local Science Fair. I have no idea why anyone would buy this, unless you're some sort of record geek of a variety I've never met or known to exist before I was mailed this. Oh wait, this guy is a "Saint" in the Church of the Subgenius. That explains a lot. Scum stats: 300 mind-boggling copies, with huge booklet and recycled LP sleeves with pasted-on and screened graphics.(RK)
(Dear Skull Records // myspace.com/dearskullrecords)

Toyotas "Run-Down Cities" 7"
Four-song single from German power-pop-punksters. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but this slab certainly isn't bad for the genre. Lightspeed hook-throwing that lands itself in the punk strikezone more often than not, with sneering vocals (that have a peculiarly British enunciation to them for some German guys) and chops to spare. The velocity really elevates this from being just another record by the Manikins or some similar outfit, as do the snotty gang-vocal choruses. Concise and well-crafted poppish songs that are lean-n-mean and delvered straight to your face without pretty boy powerpop antics. All four cuts are worth a spin, like a meanspirited Dickies or a Clorox Girls single with some oomph behind it. Surprisingly good. (RK)
(Radio 81 Records // www.radio81records.com)

Ultra Twist "No Beer, No Fun" EP
Italians playing the old garage rock who have gotten hold of a theremin. "No Beer, No Fun" and "Nuclear Bomb" (not a Spits cover) are wacky garage. "Bushist Mindset Motherfuckerz"? What the fuck does that mean? It's wacky garage. Again. "Bubka" sounds like Z-grade Man or Astroman. They really love that fucking theremin though. This band is really goofy looking, and that helps, but not really. 500 of these things exist.(RK)
(Bubca Records // myspace.com/bubcarecords)

Urban Jr. "Tres Chic" EP
Weirdpunk one man band action from Switzerland, tradtional stomping, but with synth drones, drums that could be digital, megaphone vox and steel-like guitar sounds. A-Side features two bangers that are wild-n-fast, almost sounding like a more minimal Feeling of Love. B-Side falls flat, with one non-weird straight slow-guitar plucker with some horns and another sluggish bluesy strutter. Anyone would dig the A-Side in a blind taste-test, but the flip sort of kills the momentum. I do dig the tartan design scheme though. Scum stats: 500 copies with thick-ass inserts. (RK)
(Squoodge Records // www.squoodge.de)

V/A "The Creeper" CD+zine
8.5x11 fold-over 12-page zine plus a CDR sampler of the latest goings on in New Zealand via Kato Records, a label relative of Perpetrator Records. Things seem to be working in reverse here...whilst many current American bands are mining the Flying Nun/Xpressway fields of NZ records past, most of these bands are working on the garage-rawk template of latter-Estrus boogie-cum-garage rawk. One each from The Mysterious Tapeman (lo-fi masked Link Wray worship), The Flamin' Werepigs (Dunedin-derhead garage lunk), Matt Alien (Supersucking action rock), Satina Saturnina (synth-punk Hagen/Lunch worship...her full length is called 'Clitoris Goddess'. Yep.) and The Ho'Dogs (Zeke meets Speedealer). Yikes. The zine is nicely done though.(RK)
(Kato Records // myspace.com/katorecords)


V/A "The Funhouse Comp Thing II" 2XCD
The Funhouse is Seattle's longest standing punk rock club, home to more than a few killer shows I imagine, and this is their second compilation as a sampler of bands that have hit their stage, both locals and others. I bought many a comp in my younger years for the obvious reason of getting a lot of bang for my buck, and played the shit out of many a Crypt/Estrus/Bomp sampler. Somewhere along the line the comp fell out of favor it seems, the most likely reason being it's tough to do a good one these days. You end up with a lot of throwaway cuts or repeats from other releases or whatever. You just don't see a lot of good ones anymore. This massive 50 song double disc set is a welcome exception, due in most part to very good to great (mostly) unreleased tracks from critical darlings such as The Intelligence ("Partman Parthorse"), A-Frames (the minimal "Primitive Life"), The Spits, Coconut Coolouts, Artificial Limbs, Pierced Arrows (a live "The Wait"), and a pre-name change Pyramids ("Switch", maybe the best cut here). Plus a peek at unheard-to-me bands like Rob Vasquez's new outfit Nice Smile, lovely post-twee girly nonsense from The Snacks, the sub-Riot Grrl joke(?) TacocaT, a double shot of Reptilian Civilian, swell Makers/Baseball Furies/Candy Snatchers style garage rock from bands like Bill Collectors, Pist'uns, Teenage Harlets and weirdpunk from Partman Parthorse, The Leaders, Le Shat Noir, Strap Strap and others. Other notables: the legendary Johnny Vinyl's outfit Aaiiee!! contribute a good cut, our old pal Zack Static resurfaces with the Zack Static Sect and who knew the Stuck-Ups (good) and RC5 (bad) were still around. There's enough good here that you can overlook appearances by Cute Lepers, The Girls, Paper Dolls and Anxieties and the expectedly bad few tracks of Pac-NW boogie rock. 50 tracks is a shit-ton, and the first disc is far superior to the second, but at least 70% of this thing is worth hearing, and at $12 that's like a quarter a song. Not a bad deal, and good for the car or if you're lazy and do a radio show.(RK)
(Funhouse // www.funhouseseattle.com)

V/A King Khan/Jacuzzi Boys split 7"
Split single released in conjunction with the Jacuzzi Boys US jaunt with King Khan & His Shrines this summer. Khan's contribution is in the vein of his 'Velvet Monobrow' recordings, slow and mellow, with KK accompanied by tambourine and acoustic guitar, with a little raga-like electric solo and melodious back-ups. A nice little love song but nothing exceedingly special. As much as I dig the solo stylings of A.A. Khan, I was more excited about hearing a new Jacuzzi Boys track with this record. Their 7" was a favorite of recent vintage, and "Strange Hand" is a good place-holder until they release their next record (which looks to be a 7" on HozAc, the hardest working label in the biz...), it's a meandering Byrdsy folk-strummer with a recorder solo and a little bit of backwards-guitar, not that weird and maybe even a little Burritos country-flavored. Subdued yet warm sounding, laconic and hazily catchy, but not exactly the subterranenan psych of their single. Not the best from either act, but it was nice to hear a new Jacuzzis tune. Scum stats: record plant label mispress created a collectorscum King Johan variant of 50 pink copies with alternate sleeve, regular edition should be a full 500 copies with properly spelled names.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)

V/A The Nackers/Ultra Twist split 7"
I said all I can about Ultra Twist in their own 7" review. Wacky garage. Theremin. Italian. The Nackers are from Ireland, a locale I usually don't get to hear bands from. Intrigued, despite the terrible artwork. They're OK, meaty beaty garage twang, Childish-inflected ravers with Milkshakes flavor and Headcoatees vocals. Both of their tracks are good, maybe not you-should-buy-this-good, but I wouldn't fast forward through them if they were on a tape in the car or anything. Very competent B-team stuff. 525 copies. (RK)
(Vinyl Junkie Rekkids // myspace.com/vinyljunkierekkids)

V/A Wizzard Sleeve/Amber Alerts split 7"
Synth-punk bands from Alabama? If that's not an anomaly, I don't know what is. Also remarkable is the fact they share only one member (Captain Beyonce himself). I mean, who knew Buzzard's Roost or Wetakumpka or whatever backwoods 'bama burg we're considering here had that many weird punks? The Wizz Sleeve side of this is impeccable. Some scuttlebut on the interweb is pegging it as less weird than the other shit, but I'm in love with these two songs. "Alabama's Doomed" might be a riff on a Crime song from punk's past, but it sounds like modern ambrosia to me...the chorus/hook is such lush synthetic goodness it could be heard during groupskate at the roller rink circa 1987 or at Studio 54 during a discocaine evening circa 1977 and sound perfectly at home in either locale. It's wedged in between some jackboot-lockstep verses that make it sound that much more plush. They follow that gem with a cover of Vomit Spots' "Nina Haagen Das" that sounds like the Child Molestors and Devo tag-team covering Slayer's version of "Inna Gadda Davida" from the Less Than Zero soundtrack. Nuts, and equally suitable for doing both the running man and the creepy crawl. I could go for a Wizzard Sleeve LP, or maybe a 12" EP with extended dance remixes. My favorite synth-punk band? Could be. I hesistate to even call them synth-punk, as they're beyond such classifications. The Amber Alerts side can't possibly live up to the Sleeve's two cuts, but they try. "Blackhole" reminds me a bit of Scrip+s with some synth noodles tossed in the mix here and there. "My Dick Is Tha Bomb"? Fuck man, it's like Blank Dogs high on crunk juice. Or sizzurp maybe. Or a not gay Digital Leather. Pretty funny. Wizzard Sleeve side of this is good enough to call it a mandatory purchase. I would also like to note that both bands have cool little logos that are totally conducive to drunken late night indian-ink tattoos. Watch out. Scum stats: 500 copies, first 100 or so came with limited hand-made sleeves involving spray paint and Busch beer packaging. With insert. One side plays at 33 and the other at 45. Heads up.(RK)
(Jeth Row Records // myspace.com/jethrowrecords)

V/A "World's Lousy With Ideas Volume 5" 7"
Fifth installment of America's favorite compilation. I would say the "theme" on this one would be one-man studio bands, but I have no idea if Christmas Island are an actual group or not. Doesn't matter to me either way, their "Doin' Swell" sounds like a mix of Romance Novels hissy treble-pop and Sic Alps/Eat Skull basement Beach Boys vibes. A great song that has me excited for more, in particular the LP on In the Red later this year. The stellar Catatonic Youth make their first vinyl appearance here with "Control My Gun", a robotic Devo-like guitar/drums down-cruncher with those unmistakable echoed-out vocals. A very exciting A-Side. The flip is devoted to Monsieur Dan Melchior's "Stacked Sally Plummer" ("She's a real bummer..."), a subtle psychedelic tripper with a super-hooky electric guitar line interweaving with the minimal acoustic backbeat. One of his catchier tunes for sure, and honestly one of my favorites of his from recent releases. Almost Ready shoots and scores again, but after five of these things, that's a given. Scum stats: 500 copies, various sleeves of course. (RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)

V/A "World's Lousy With Ideas Volume 6" 7"
Volume Six of WLWI could be the Shitgaze Edition, as loathe as I am to use that term. Little Claw do a twee minimal synth "love" song with kiddie piano and spoken female vox. Tres experimental. Everyone loves Eat Skull, and I'm no exception. The sad "You Must Be Bugs" sounds like the wind whistling through a four-track, slow and mournful acoustic strings and vocals with only a shimmer of ringing guitar breaking the eulogy. They do no wrong. Psychedelic Horseshit contribute "Meditation Skateboards No. 26" (Four Track Version), a chopped rhythm with slices of guitar pasted on that sort of segues into a secret lo-fi dance-beat with the guitars beginning to go backwards and then devolves again into some dubby sounds and random guitar pluckings with a constant deadpan vocal keeping the pace. This is modern day hippie music. Not my personal favorite installment (Eat Skull excluded), but I know this will be a hot seller anyway. John Norris bought multiples I heard. Now lets see an LP comp of the first six volumes Dope, Guns & Fucking style. Scum stats: 500 copies, several sleeves, you know the drill. If anyone besides Mr. ARR can show me a complete set of Almost Lousy's with all sleeve variants, I will give them my entire record collection.(RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)

Vermillion Sands "Mary" 7"
Super-cool little record from Rijapov that I didn't see coming at all. Vermillion Sands is a lass by the name of Anna on lead guitar and vocals, who does a good job of being the Italian version of Holly Golightly. She's accompanied by Nene from Movie Star Junkies (who are a surprisingly great Italo-garage band in their own right) on bass/piano and gets a helping hand from both Mojomatics as well. The title cut is sharp garage-pop with an edge, semi-tough fuzz guitar offsetting her vocals, a really great hook with some slight keyboard touches and someone called Be Invisible Now throwing in some weird sound effects here and there. Killer song. B-Side references the blend of country and rock'n'roll Holly utilizes so sublimely, "Wake Me When I Die" is light-hearted lamenting with an infectious chorus and "Would You Kindly Direct me To Hell?" is homespun C&W twang with a woman's touch. Really stellar stuff here, especially for a Holly G. fan like me, as it's so strikingly similar. It sidles up perfectly to what she was doing around 'God Don't Like It' and 'Desperate Little Town' LPs, when she was collaborating heavily with Dan Melchior. Very well done, highly recommended if you're into this sort of thing. Scum stats: 100 red vinyl. 300 black vinyl, full color heavy pocket sleeves.(RK)
(Rijapov Records // myspace.com/rijapovrecords)

Vicious Cycle "Neon Electric" 7"
Second-tier Canadian hardcore from the province of Ontario, and as run-of-the-maill sounding as their name suggests. Vocals leave a lot to be desired, deep-throated no-tone yelling and standard variety hardcore moves. Make a list of all the cliched things you could say about a Career Suicide or Fucked Up record, and Vicious Cycle are that, but without the chops, ineventiveness or moxie that make CS and FU great bands. When people think of generic modern hardcore, this is what they are imagining. There are plenty of US HC bands making the same mistakes as well, so please don't think I'm singling them out for being Canadian.(RK)
(Radio 81 Records // www.radio81records.com)

Waco Fuck “Paranoia Is Total Awareness” LP/CD
Waco Fuck. That’s a pretty good name in my book. I’ve got the CD version of their eleven-song LP here, which includes twelve additional tracks from the “Slow Decay” and “No Child Left Behind” EPs of ’06 and ’04, providing a comprehensive as-of-late discography of brutal, negative Hispanic small man power from San Diego. Not sure if they’re Latinos, I just like using the few references to power-violence and the Left Coast's brand of punishing drop-of-a-dime time signatures pervading the grind-infused hardcore that sprouted out in the Wild West that I’ve got floating around the noggin. More nuances of NYHC and classic ‘80s shit is a nice surprise (The breakdown in “Narcotic Fuck Up” could get fucking ugly live, and “White Suburban Mediocrity” even reminds me of GI’s “Hey Ronnie”! Bizarre…), with some effective axe muting and rumbling breakdowns/group-vox anthems like in “Military Funeral” just further the spouting of tortured throat-wrenchers and anthemic desperation about the futility of abstract political doctrine and the neutered state of human existence we’re experiencing. That’s for sure. Everywhere I look: no balls. No areté. Less grind/traditional power-violence than Dropdead and the like, but still has that epic foreboding dark quality to it that’s pretty much disowned the amateur roots of hardcore in favor of the contingent power of refined production in extreme music. The guitar on “Slow Decay” is one big impenetrable wall, and the whole EP has a nasty momentum to it, whereas the thrash metal of “No Child Left Behind” has some pinch harmonics and is teeming with blastbeats. Eh, ya win some ya lose some. Anyways, Californian groups seem to have a firmer grasp on the more ominous tendencies in hardcore’s evolution, and this is no exception… probably because you’ve got to be a tad haywire to be inclined to the color black where it’s fun under the warm California Sun. I’m probably reading into it too much, but Paranoia is Total Awareness after all. Not as many crust, metal, grind, or “nu-hardcore” aspects as I’d hypothesized. Just shred, hate and balls. What else do you need? (BG)
(Life’s A Rape // lifesarape.blogspot.com)

Warm Streams "Camo Babies" 7"
Borox Records returns with the debut Warm Streams 7", a bunch of Sacto fuckwads who have been in bands such as The Sores, Kill-A-Watts and Behead the Prophet. Musically, it's a fine balance of mean-spirited lo-fi punk and post-AmRep noise mongering, whipping guitar slash that leaves welts, raw drumming from one Phil Colons, off-key back-up vocal caterwauling...punk as shit and militantly misanthropic in sentiment. The real deal-sealer is lead vox from phenom J. Rocksworth Sexington III, totally crude rasping that is some of thee most savagely painful sounding shit I've heard in some time. I imagine chunks of larynx speckling the mic after they cut this record. Three songs worth of belligerent aggro-rock that will have you scraping the hate off your needle for days afterward and leave you feeling like you just listened to a scratched Cows LP at the wrong speed. Lyrics are great too, thanks for the insert kids. Now where's that Stab and The Stotters 7" at? Scum stats: 300 copies on warm urine colored vinyl, full color pocket sleeves with artwork that I think might violate some pornography laws somewhere.(RK)
(Borox Records // myspace.com/warmstreams)

Wicked Awesomes "Information Entropy" 7"
Stunning release from Alberta's Wicked Awesomes, their debut solo outing as they appeared on a split with the O-Voids recently as well. "Information Entropy" is a blend of delicate lo-fi Sonic Youth-like guitar rock landscaping that breaks into raw blurts of punk for some jarring interludes. Vocals alternate between a Thurston-like mumble and savage snarl. Fabulous stuff and not what I was expecting from a band called Wicked Awesomes. The B-Side goes further out on a ledge. It's called "Wizardship Stardestroyer" and sounds like a post-punk band of gypsies (not the Hendrix outfit) playing a hypnotically lo-fi traditional with a bastardized punk flavor. I imagine this was recorded at the local Armenian hall with lots of strange European liquors flowing, funny hats being worn, some of that Russian-style kick-dancing on top of tables and a solo on one of those little guitars. Description defying in all the right ways. Probably my favorite record of this update. The songs just have a nice texture to them, I know that makes absolutely no sense. Genreless stuff that is weird but somehow not weirdpunk. Words are failing me here, but the fact that I can't stop listening to it says volumes. Scum stats: 300 copies, buy multiples. (RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)

Women "Strangler" 7"
Philly hardcore-punks that sent me a semi-interesting demo a while back. Reminiscent at times of an Americanized Regulations, regurgitating classic hc-punk conventions, which is fine when done well, but there are some disturbingly wimpy undercurrents at times that take the edge off. They try and steamroll through tunes with titles like "Get Fucked Up" and "Shark Week" but don't really muster the required muscle to sound like they really mean it. I think it might be the vox. They sound a little too wacky to me. I feel like these dudes used to be in emo and pop-punk bands and are now trying to get mean. Really, "Radiation" sounds like a Lookout band trying to act hard. The sleeve for this record is a hundred times tougher than the band actually is. Sorry fellas. Scum stats: 500 copies, 160 with limited silk-screened sleeves. (RK)
(FDH Records // www.fdhmusic.com)


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