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RECORD REVIEWS WINTER 2008-09

Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(AR: Acapulco Rodriguez)(EEK: Erick Elrick)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich Kroneiss)(TO: Tm Onita)(MS: Mike Sniper)(SB: Young Steve)(RSF: Rob Vertigo)

A.H. Kraken "Gianna Michaels" 7"
French monsters send out a tribute to the heir to Christy Canyon's throne, the woman with greatest set of natural breasts to grace the porn industry in many years, Gianna Michaels. She's great. The song is just OK. Frenchies bludgeoning the shit out of their amps and drums moaning her name and a few other lyrics. Avant-garde noise rock. Better than Billy Bao, not as good as Feeling of Love. Flipside is paranoiac guitar scaling over lumbering rhythms. Moody and mysterious, I guess. I feel sort of like I did when I bought that Chemical People LP with Jeanna Fine on the cover right now...(RK)
(Sweet Rot // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)

Amber Alerts "Ghoast Houze" 7"
Captain Beyonce's involvement makes me want to label the Amber Alerts Wizzard Sleeve Jr., but that's a little bit off base. AA seem more stoned out, and less overtly "weird" maybe, at least on the A-Side which pairs punk moves with background synths and phantom vocal treatments. Maybe a little like first LP Lost Sounds, but without all the screaming and goth overtones. Definitley a detached, almost icily snotty attitude, and the tunes are certainly more guitar led than synth-heavy. Sort of sickly mellow with a subdued nasty streak. B-Side is total psych-punk, a lengthy mushrooms-and-synths droner that travels to the outer reaches of middle-of-nowhere Alabama darkness. Legitimately frightening at moments, sort of like those nights when you think you might've taken too many drugs and you convince yourself you might not make it back to normal, and you're just dying for sunrise and the shit to wear off. Heavy. Scum stats: first 100 on blue vinyl.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)

Mick Basset & The Marthas 7"
One tune of acoustic Dylan worship backed with Tom Waits-like bluesy trombone bar-room theatrics that adults who like to dress as if they're going to a speakeasy or vaudeville show in 1920's Chicago would dig. I like this better than Tom Waits, but that's only because I fucking hate Tom Waits. Hardcore Tom Waits fans are the worst. The types of dudes who wear scarves indoors. And stupid hats. Worst. And I'm really not that fond of Bob Dylan either. Sacrilege? Pffft. (RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

Bear Proof Suit "B.Y.O.B.O.C." LP
Debut LP from Milwaukee hardcore dudes. Sounds little more metal than the 7" to me, like some later DRI got into the blender along with their mix of Poison Idea/(pre-Crossover) DRI/Kreuzen. Lyrically/thematically, it's sort of the same trip that Adrenalin OD were on, wacky hijinx and all. Sound bites from 'The Stoned Age', macho vox, lotsa riffs, lotsa yuks. Pretty straightforward Eighties 'core sounds here. I think the 7" was a little ballsier, but the production on this one is good and they throw a couple weird touches in there amidst the goofing. Repulsion Records has a really sweet logo. Just thought I'd mention that. I've been staring at for like five minutes now. Comes with a BPS comic book too.(RK)
(Repulsion Records // myspace.com/repulsionrecs)

The Beavers "Com'on Let's Beav'" 10"
The only reason I know of the Beavers is via that split 7" they did with Gaunt from what seems like a century ago. And I barely remember their side of that. They've released a couple other records since then and have this new 10" slab of hockey-punk thick vinyl. They're from Gronigen, that magical town in the Netherlands where everyone is a rocker and there's a great show at the Vera every night of the week and records grow on trees. Straightlaced beat-garage antics via eight original tunes that aren't all that bad or good, with the exception of "The Dark Surfer", a really ace bad-mood instrumental. Other than that, it's average retro-Eurogarage, and nothing a spin of an Outsiders or Q65 record won't make you immediately forget about, even if they dedicate a song to Wally Tax.(RK)
(High School Refuse Records // www.xs4all.nl/~rinsma/hsr/)

Black Orphan “Circuits” 7”
One of two recent platters (not including WLWI#2 track) served up by this one man recording machine, which I guess has roots to The Spits family tree. I also hear it’s in the same ballpark as the Spider 7” (which I never heard or got a grasp on. OOP. Thanks kids!) Chock full of quick yet thick glue-infused synthpunk with some sweet guitar strangulations thrown in to separate it from the Blank Dogs clones that are sproutin’ up everywhere. Guitars give a nice boost of KBD energy to it all. The drowning in embryonic slime glam vocals keep it interesting too. One alien instro sandwiched between three other gorked-out gems that had me reaching for an early-Mute and Travelogue follow up soon after...or at least some Sacred Bones stuff. Not bad at all. Pretty damn good. Hope ya get a chance to hear it. 400 pressed, 100 on yellow vinyl. All in glow in the dark sleeves!(RSF)
(UFO Dictator Records // www.ufodictator.com)

Black Time “Double Negative” LP/CD
Bad vibes rarely sound this good. How BT managed smearing such a rich coat of reverb on their normal clang to birth such a great multi-dimensional addition to these Londoners’ catalogue is beyond me. Freed up from the amateurish idiosyncrasies of “Blackout,” (where we were introduced to their strange brand of artsy/fashionable nonchalance and simultaneous Morton-flavored noisefuck with genuine instrumental setbacks [not corrected here, which is good, but perhaps honed, which is also good]), the more-irk-than-perk “Midnight World,” and jostle of singles of various glazed & dazed dancability, “Double Negative” takes the cake. Great fucking album from the inaugural “When the Clock Strikes Twelve,” sounding like a Rolling Stones cut were Jagger and the gang even sleazier serpentine cokehead scummers than history suggests (or perhaps just drunken 15-year-olds…), begging lots of psychotic reactions with their bastardized surf tinkles and reverberated madness. I loved “Blackout,” but this outing is dislodged and dirty, mind-blown-to-shit type fare sounding like its transpiring on astral plains instead of a musty garage. And that there is a feat. Not many can add this much depth and variety to the garage ditty and have it hold up, but the BT does it. …Side A (“Phase In”) scoops you into Lemmy’s poignant gravitational jurisdiction, with “The Days Are Too Short…” sort of continuing that streak, channeling the climactic end of ‘60s oblivio-psyche in the knowingly morose way that the Velvet Underground did – with cool, collected, complete and inviting acceptance of the end of the era, reminiscing with indifference if anything whilst charting new avenues of expression. Then there’s selections like “Repulsion,” stripping the Electric Eels’ “It’s Artastic” of its tasteful loins, just to perform sonic felatio! Holy shitbags! Great stuff. Side B (the VERY aptly titled “Phase Out”) compliments A by aborting your ruptured nervous system to the icy universal abyss. It holds on to some of these Stonesish vestiges for a minute – the beef and ale of their native land – like in “Little Death,” watching the past decade in perforated form like home movies in anticipation of the pending Armageddon, with garage licks reduced to their most pure and recognizable form to enjoy under the hue of dimming lights, jiving to the sounds of the past while the tainted punch takes effect. Even “I’m Gonna Haunt You When I’m Gone,” in which Lemmy relays vocal duties to bassist Pirate Love birthing a very Vivian Girls-ish garage-gal pop number, has the macabre in mind. Towards the end of “Institution” your appendages start getting cold, and where “Lunar Rhythm” denoted monkeys picking up some leftover femurs and smashing skulls in homoerectal paroxysm in the mute regions of the sonically uncharted, “Backwards in Black” is a punk take on the synesthesia-phase trip concluding 2001: A Space Odyssey. Altogether a nastier, bad-vibe-ridden series of cuts that compliment side A’s offering of stumbling, scrap-metal-on-sand-paper dissonance slathered in a dirty, throbbing echo, all while retaining the simple façade of catchiness. Side A sucks you in, Side B spits you out, telling ya to fuck off in a way that only begs the desired return. Again and again and again. (BG)
(In The Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

Black Time "ICU" EP
One of Black Time's finest seven-inchers to date, if not the best (and I thought they might've hit their apex on the 'Hate Songs' EP). "ICU" is a lo-fi spy anthem, secret things spoken and glazed in reverb. Sounds cryptic. This flows into "Corpse Life", a real punk mover which Janie Too Bad and Lemmy chop down via the choruses only to get the throb moving again on the verse. Sounds Crypt-y. "Doomsday Parade" actually sounds a little dub to me, it's got a little of the reggae beat in it momentarily, which gives way to another Black Time patented anthemic breakdown. Sounds very English. And a dub plate of Black Time versions would be brilliant. Reverb fucking overload on that shit. A really well structured single, in true BT fashion there seems to be a vague theme interlocking the three songs, and their most Brit-sounding record to date. This record also gave me visions of The Prisoner. It's got that nothing-is-real/big-brother-is-watching/secret-lives feel to it. Smashingly good. Scum stats: 500 hand numbered copies.(RK)
(Skulltones // www.skulltones.org)

Black Time "ICU" 7"
After seeing Black Time on their recent US tour and liking them quite a bit I felt hesitant to write a review slagging this single. So I went out and got former WWF World Heavyweight Champion the Iron Sheik to do it for me. Take it away Sheik:

"Black Time, I wanna let you know...you put out a very bad record. I respected the self-titled LP. Trained with the Verne Gagne in the Minnesota. Fantastic record. Good athlete. Great high jumper. But Black Time I lose respect for you when you put out the "Midnight World." It was WORSE than that no good lowlife punk Hollywood blond jabronie Hulk Hogan!!! It was WORSE than when the mark ask Andre for autograph in France and he say, 'no fuck you' even though Andre the babyface. Andre the Giant! I never respect you again. But now Black Time your new single is the worst.
'ICU?'
FUCK THE ICU!!!
'Corpse Life?'
FUCK THE CORPSE LIFE!!!
'Doomsday Parade?'
FUCK THE DOOMSDAY PARADE!!!
Black Time, I wanna let you know...this record is worse than that son of a bitch Brian Blair and I never respect you again. 500 copies? FUCK THE 500 copies!!! I wrestle at Silverdome...Pontiac, Michigan...93,000 fans...I will BREAK this single's back, put it in the Camel Clutch, FUCK its ass, and make it humble old world way so it respect the Iron Sheik. This time the Hacksaw won't come save you. That big jabronie say, "Sheik drive with me. I have the coke. I have the pot. I have the crack." Then cop stop us and he say it mine. It was worse than when that gold digger Carol Peterson stole my $18,000 check from the Vince McMahon. But it was not worse than this single. Carol Peterson! You were the most beautiful woman in the Minnesota in the 70's...but I cannot have SEX with you anymore. Black Time! "A Band Apart" was the most beautiful song to come from the England in the 00's...but I cannot LISTEN to you anymore!"

He went on for about two more hours in a similar vein. I had to edit out several ethnic and homophobic slurs. While the Sheik's views on this single don't exactly mirror mine, they aren't that far off either. (SB)
(Skulltones // www.skulltones.org)

Blank Dogs "Setting Fire to Your House" 7"
I had to stop reviewing Blank Dogs recs for a minute. I still listened to them. I just couldn't think of anything to say about them that I haven't said already. Then the other day, someone was asking me if they would like the Blank Dogs, and I was about to say "Naw, they're pretty weird..", but once I really thought about, I realized there's no reason that people who are into the works of Robert Smith or Curtis/Sumner/Hook couldn't hang with this, aside from the lo-fi aesthetic and the vox. But they probably wouldn't, Blank Dogs are a little too hairy for those types. But they should. Wait, have I said this before?...On this latest Euro import single (and Blank Dogs' first release on a foreign label {I know, Sweet Rot is Canadian, but that doesn't count}...I gotta give the guy credit for not whoring himself out to the Euro micro-labels) Senor BD hits us with two, the title track being very Cure-like, with a programmed beat and a sort of weird joy comes through on the chorus. This one makes me want to know more about the lyrics/emotion behind the song. "I Was Counting" is an exclusive B-Side (the A-Side will reappear on the upcoming In the Red 2XLP), another of his almost achingly depressive synth-borne laments, a swirl of Joy Divison-like (but probably more New Order) self-doubt and dejection. If you've stayed on the train this long, there's no reason to get off now. Doing some rough math, Im guessing we're about midway into Year Two now? Scum stats: 500 pressed, 100 on red.(RK)
(4:2:2 // myspace.com/mediegruppen422)

Bobby & The Soft Spots "Can't Get Her off" 7"
Benefit 7" for Atlanta's Bobby Ubangi, the man behind The Lids and Jared's Gaye Blades counterpart, who has been diagnosed with cancer. I remember getting that Lids 7" sent to me in the mail unsolicited and thinking it was the greatest thing that people were still playing budget rock. They were the first of the new wave of Atlanta bands to really get a grip on me, and next thing you know the Carbonas and Black Lips and Beat Beat Beat and more are all over the place, making moves and hamming it up in Vice. But I think the genius of the Lids gets lost in the shuffle of all those other bands, which is a shame. Anyway, the two songs on this 7" remind me a lot of The Lids obviously, simple garage sing-alongs in the Raffaelli/budget vein, except maybe a little looser and drunker on these recordings (with a backing band featuring the label honchos of both Rob's House and Die Slaughterhaus I believe), but "Can't Get Her Off" is an absolute hit. All proceeds from the record go directly to Ubangi. There's no reason not to buy one of these. Scum stats: 1000 copies which you should all help go OOP quickly. It's not everyday that you can buy a record that will actually help someone in need.(RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

Bosom Divine "I'm Your Animal" 7"
Very refreshing sounding French garage-pop record with an A-Side to die for. Obviously VU-referential, with an upbeat jangle-pop vibe that almost sounds like a French take on Brit-pop. Lovely. B-Side is a bit more off-kilter Wave-y sounding that would be more likely to make you believe there's a Cheveu member involved (and there is), with a little bit of subtle organ-work, and still maintains it's danceability. Really pleasant, from the clean sounding guitars to the cozy vocals. Very happy with this, it made me remember that Groovers LP I liked a lot way back when. Whatever happened to those guys? Also, best use of a picture of a dog on a French record since those daschunds on the Les Teckels 12". (RK)
(Les Disques Steak // myspace.com/disquessteak)

Botox Rats "Kick Me Like Trash" 7"
Title cut sounds like some UK fellas going for the Stitches street/junkie punk melange, and come up with a decent tune, but without the charisma or pipes of a Mike Lohrman to pull it off 100%. But it's still 75% good, I gotta give them that. I've been there and done it before (these guys woulda been big with the Pelado Records mailing list, which now probably constitutes the Hot Topic mailing list now that I think about it...), but it is done pretty well. There's a lot of bands with a good song in them. The real test is writing more than one. B-Side kicks off with one totally awful bar-rocker that even some cowbell couldn't save and another generic punker. I imagine these dudes wear a lot of animal print. I think punk is officially dead in the UK. Garage-punk, now that's alive and well, but just straight punk? Six fucking feet under, with Wattie pissing on it's grave. Scum stats: 200 on black, 100 on purple. (RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Brainbombs "Live At Lund" LP
First stupid complaint I heard about this record: "It's not recorded well, it's too quiet..." Well, that's what you have a fucking VOLUME knob for Francis. Crank the fucking thing. If you're not listening to this thing loud, then you really don't need to own it. Please return it to the store and buy some tampons instead. Second stupid complaint I heard about this record: "I wish there was a tracklist, I don't recognize some of these songs..." Well, then maybe you should've bought some Brainbombs records back when Blackjack was practically giving them away instead of trying to top some other mouthbreathers on eBay bidding copies of 'Burning Hell' up to $100. Do your fucking homework. This live set is from '93, back when you were still into Bush. Ah, fuck it. I don't care. I like this record. It's a live Brainbombs recording, which will neither replace actually seeing them live (which 98% of us haven't) and won;t really replace playing the studio LPs either. It is what it is. Just don't fucking whine about it, okay? (RK)
(Richie Records // www.testostertunes.blogspot.com)

Brimstone Howl “We Came In Peace” LP/CD
As an editorial forward, I’ll say that I was in the perceived minority that actually thought 'Guts of Steel' was a great record. The treaded gripe with that slab was its odd mastering – the sonic components all complying to the same mix volume, all pushed just enough into the red to beset a biting edge but make for a confusing, contradictory listen. Looking past that, the songwriting is fucking phenomenal. “Heart Attack,” “I’m A Man,” and “Damned To Judge” are the cream of the Nebraskan harvest, nearly dispersing over a floodplain previously parched with absence of anything discernibly “epic,” just riding on the thin banks of garage punk perfection. So it’s sort of a weird detour for the kings of croon to take a step down to a humbler moxie, opting for a much subtler brilliance that doesn’t pull as many punches in the revival of Ogallala-rock. I’m not saying their catalogue previous to this had many blatant rips (definitely a few!, but at least tastefully done), but it almost rung as a caricature of midwestern cowboys playing unkept rock n’ roll songs between their wild juvenile stints in the name of love and danger. Guns and whiskey and one-night stands and chipped teeth. Select cuts pick right up where they left off: “They Call Me Hopeless Destroyer” (the manic drumming knocking you on your ass during the inaugural seconds of the album), “Summer of Pain” (continuing the ‘Howl’s transpiring tradition of modifying licks of the almighty ‘Stones which began with “Tunnel of Love”s take on “Paint It Black,” and, fingers crossed, will conclude with an epic career-ending delve into an elongated sleep-paralysis-of-a-“Play With Fire” that they never wake themselves out of, like true martyrs of rock n’ roll, because if anyone has it in ‘em its these guys), and “USMC” (good song in the vein of Nebraskan hootenanny like only these cats know how) in particular. They’ve a cut called “Catamite Blues” (funny name, forgettable ditty) and “Shangri La” (brilliant and already thrown on mixtapes by me) as well. “A Million Years” is a radiant beam, dancing into melancholic territory a la Reigning Sound but with the frayed seems of the Oblivians. Altogether a gradually blooming flower that takes this reckless western-twang tinged garage with rudimentary rock undercurrents from blunt and one-dimensional to a beautiful, multi-faceted, and most notably, mature chapter in one of the best non-shit-fi pigfuck garage bands around. I like this band a lot right now, ‘cause they seem to look past all the immobilizing truisms of garage derivation and just go for it. Like they don’t feel it in their dicks or their cerebellums but in their hearts. And as emphatic emotion is known to do, they transgress many emotive turfs. If “Guts of Steel” was the midday excursion to the watering hole in search of a one-off summer fling with a smooth young gal, “We Came In Peace” is the first day of Fall – frigid while beams of sun poke through deadened branches and teases of past carelessness. And that tends to be the theme: heartbreak and acceptance, with the interjection of a very Christian optimism that promises themselves a Spring to every of their Winters. (BG)
(Alive Naturalsound Records // www.alive-totalenergy.com)

Buzzer "Disco Kiddz" 7"
I really love Andy Jordan's whole vibe, I sometimes think he might be the modern day Adny Shernoff, or at least as close as we've got. But like Shernoff, he has his share of misses as well as hits. "Disco Kiddz" has the potential to be a totally massive proto-punk rocket, but it just kinda lingers in the stratosphere and never really takes off into outerspace-land, man. Middling. Fair to middling. "Cool Feeling" is a glammy blaster though and "Heavy Weather" is a neat Seventies-style rocker, like a Time Flys cut without the haze of pot smoke and body odor surrounding it. On the whole, a good record, I just wanted it to be better. They do go for the Montrose-esque "We refuse to wear shirts for our record sleeve!" look on the back cover though. Except they do it in a shower stall, taking the effect to even gayer heights. Scum stats: First 100 on white vinyl.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.blogspot.com)

Cccandy "Necrosis" 7"
Minimally synthy stuff (but not really "minimal synth", the genre) from the French version of The Pink Noise. They assimilate familiar Eighties-vintage electronic sounds, yet make them sound non-cheesy in a way comparabe to what PN does, with treated vox delivered in a deadpan style. "Necrosis" does a lot with a simple drumpad tap and a low key synth loop, accentuated by some clinically robotic spoken lines and whirls of more synth. Well done and something you wouldn't think bears repeated listening, yet it does. B-Side offers two more, the brief "Two Men" has a synth/digidrum template that sounds pulled from a kids video game and "Are You Dead?" has the tones of the closing credits to an Eighties thriller, with a somewhat disturbing vocal effect. I'm not always on board when it comes to this "genre", but I think Cccandy have made an interesting record regardless of classifications. Scum stats: 300 copies, green vinyl.(RK)
(Eat Records // www.edibleaudibles.com)

CCCPn "Knulla Knulla Knulla" EP+CD
I kinda really like this. For the following reasons...there are two hot Swedish birds in the band, one a thick blonde with a Sue Catwoman-via-Russ Meyer look, and the other an ice cold Scandanavian brunette with a hot bod. These chicks are probably total ballbusters, and in a good way. I also really like girls in jodhpurs for some reason. So they got that going for them. Musically, it's great fun too. "Knulla..." is a slinky bass-n-drum beater with forcefully intoned Swedish vocals. Kinda sexy, kinda scary, kinda goofy (tasteful kazoo solo). Side B is packed with kicks too, "No Disco" is simple punk with dual female Swede vox and a lot of laughing, "Olof Palme" is a "Wild Thing" rewrite dedicated to Sweden's greatest politician (look him up), and they do a neat "Whip It"-soundalike which I think is taking the piss out of HFOS. Quite well done. Hey, if it's wrong to like a record more because there are hot chicks in the band, well shoot me. This record wouldn't work as well if these girls weren't great looking. It's based on sex appeal. No one would want to listen to ugly Swedish girls talk sexy in a language you don't understand! Am I right? I know I'm right. The blonde is also in Latex Novelties, who put out a decent single a few years past. I was listening to that Love Is All covers 12" a lot at the time I was reviewing this, and you know, CCCPn sort of have an unexpectedly similar vibe. Scum stats: 100 on red, 200 on black, 100 on yellow, all colors come with a CD version of the EP with some extras tacked on.(RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Clockcleaner "Skinheaded Lady" 7"
Quite possibly the last Clockcleaner record, which will probably make some people happy. Personally, I'm a fan of the band...and John Sharkey as a person, which seems to be the polarizing factor for a lot of people. So what if the guy has shitty tattoos? Take that into consideration for this review, if you're one of those types who takes yourself too seriously. "Skinheaded Lady" is a slow dick-pumper about fucked up byrds where Clockcleaner sound almost sexy. Perfect tune for making out or beating off to. The flip is a cover of "Hate City" where they make up their own words, allowing Sharkey to vocally masturbate all over a classic. Fittingly enough, Johnny was exiled to the penal colony of Australia late in 2008. He may be allowed to return in 2010 if Chase Utley lifts the restraining order. Kurt Vile gets credited with an assist on this record, horns on "Hate City" maybe? Probably a pretty limited press.(RK)
(Stained Circles // www.stainedcircles.com)

Coprolitos "Naftalina" 7"
Spanish punk with a charismatic frontwoman that defines the band's sound...semi-angular Tyrades-like danger-punk with more melody, bringing some arty touches here and a little post-punk there. Guitar player has some gifts too, he really lets it burn on "Naftalina" (which I think is about a lesbian) and "Perra", and blows the doors off on "Una De Ellos" ("One of Them"). They end it with an interesting country-ish rocker that I didn't see coming either. A really good foreign-punk record for anyone not too lazy to get past the language barrier. Scum stats: 303 copies only! (RK)
(Blondes Must Die Records // www.blondesmustdierecords.tk)

Dead Luke "Running Scared" 7"
I've said in past reviews how I like that the Pink Noise uses retro synth sounds but makes them sound new and cutting edge. I think some of the problem I have with Dead Luke's records are that he uses synths/sounds that just sound kinda corny and doesn't add anything to make them overly interesting or cast them in a new light. I also think his overall sound (and imagery) borrows a bit much from the Blank Dogs. I also think some of the lyrics and compositions are a bit goofy (who knows, Blank Dogs lyrics might not be that hot either, but who can tell what he's saying most the time...). Petty things, I know. But these records seem like by-the-numbers "Ive got a 4 track, a bedroom and a bunch of synths and pedals and I'm gonna use 'em!" type stuff to me. I do have to say that Dead Luke box on Sacred Bones is one of the nicest looking things I bought all year though.(RK)
(Sweet Rot // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)

Die Rotzz "Die Slutzz" EP
Best Die Rotzz shit, hands down, the A-Side of this in particular. Previous Die Rotzz records have ranged from leaving me flaccid (the 'Tugboat' EP) to getting a pretty good rise in my pants ("What I Need" or "Uptown Ruler"), but they really haven't pulled a wholly great 7" off on their own merit yet. This one is damn close. Pointless punk rock tunes that do a better job of summoning the collective spirits of the first four volumes of Killed By Death than just about any other outfit thinking they're KBD-inspired. This is shitty punk, descended from Freestone, The Rotters, Vains and other similar junk. Sounds like it might've been recorded live to a Betamax player, vocals consistently screamed at the top of the lungs, a band playing with unabashed passion and slop as if they're just trying to finish the damn song so they can crack open another PBR tall boy, what's not to love? Scum stats: 200 scant copies, comes in a stamped dust sleeve.(RK)
(AG82 Records // myspace.com/arsegestapo1982)

Disco Lepers "The Government Took My Virginity" EP
Firstly, please don't confuse these (Disco) Lepers from Londontown with the other, more heinous (Cute) Lepers from up in the Northwest US over there. The Disco Lepers might not be that great, but they at least deserve that disclaimer. Seven song EP of fookin' poonk that sounds like a bunch of over-caffeinated middle schoolers donning some funny shades and homemade Exploited t-shirts they made with sharpies (which they tried to get high off to no avail) blowing through the standard themes while shotgunning Cokes in the rec room: nazis, parents, black market organ donors, kids, the government...Really fast with chirpy vox (so much so I had to check the pitch knobs a few times), I'm with them in spirit, but sonically it's a snooze. Scum stats: 300 copies, green and black vinyl, six different sleeve variations. (RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Double Dagger "Sophisticated Urban Living" and "Bored Meeting" 7"es
Sounds like...well, on the "Bored Meeting" 7" the do a metal-punk song, then do a bored sounding post-punk number, backed with a remix by Chalmers (I have no idea who this is) that sounds like techno or whatever. The "...Urban Living" 7" is one side of emo and another side of...bassier emo. I blame Fugazi. Thanks, but no thanks.(RK)
(Toxic Pop Records // www.toxicpoprecords.com)
(Terra Firma Records // www.terrafirmarecords.com)

Double Negative "Raw Energy" EP
Double Negative were supposedly formed by a bunch of older dudes to "show the kids how it's done", and they do a hell of a job. Long-time scene-dude Brian Walsby is their drummer, he of the well known comics and also ex-Scared Straight (and ex-Polvo!) and the others have similar pedigrees I imagine. One side of this is two studio ragers, equal to anything most of the better hardcore bands today have come up with (and beyond many of them), the closest touchstones I can relate to you are Void and maybe early COC. Beefy hardcore played with a lot of pent-up anger being released. The other side of this is a "live" recording, actually done in their practice space with one mic, and I like it even better, pretty blown out, the bass sounds ominously shitty and I enjoy the loose yet powerful feel of it. Definitely one of the best hardcore records I've had the pleasure of being sent all year. Scum stats: 1,000 on clear vinyl with no labels, great looking four-fold sleeve with metallic printing, and the cover is DN logo stencil you can punch out and use on stop signs or bus windows or whatever you kids are vandalizing these days. They also inexplicably thank Jay Reatard in the liners? (RK)
(Sorry State Records // www.sorrystaterecords.com)

Eric & The Happy Thoughts "Never Gonna Do It" 7"
I heard many post-Gonerfest tales about this band, people just going booboonutty for this stuff. I guess I really don't see it. I liked the Romance Novels well enough, but I don't think any of their records had a ton of staying power. Three tracks of fine enough Buddy Holly revisionism here, done in a likeable no-fi fashion. "Indiana Girls" sounds like the hit, and I dig it a bit (nice backing vox), but overall, just sounds pretty average to me. Not the worldbeater I was expecting from the hype machine. I bet it's a real hoot to see live though. Scum stats: 300 copies, 100 on blue. Another Bubbledumb Records clusterfuck, good luck getting one.(RK)
(Bubblebumb Records // myspace.com/bubbledumb1977)

The Estranged "Entranced" 7"
The whole Red Dons/Observers/Revisions PDX family of bands is some of the most hum-drum punk rock of recent memory (excluding maybe Defect Defect live and any other live show I saw with that kid Colin in the band...I think I saw him play bass for The Observers once? On that Clorox Girls tour? Highly enetertaining kid. The rest of The Observers still sucked though, including the lead singer who wore a lab coat....). Snoozefest live and on record. The A-Side of this ain't a bad sped-up Wipers-ish swipe, tune has some energy and momentum, but the lyrics and their delivery do their best to kill it. B-Side is total dreck. Whatever happened to that band The Diskords? Did those kids end up in these shitty bands? Scum stats: 500 on black, sold out already (what the fuck is wrong people?) and repressed on clear in another edition of 500. Jesus. (RK)
(Dead Ideas // www.deadideas.com)

F'ke Blood "Water Wings" 7"
I had no idea Italy Records was still at it! F'ke Blood include an actual razor blade with their 7", and play some cutting edge (Oh snap!) dancefloor post-punk. "Water Wings" is rather bouncy and minimal, I like it. Easy to get into the groove of. B-Side gets a litte more fancy, is less dance and more dry. Too many lyrics maybe, not as totally hooky (until they break it down at the end all GoF-style), but I like the female backing vox. Pretty decent record. Self-professed "New Detroit Beat". Also etched as a "Porky Prime Cut". Heh. (RK)
(Italy Records // www.italyrecordsdetroit.com)

Finally Punk "Coffee Tea and Misery" EP
While it may be encouraging to hear parents* clamor about a band being “just a bunch of noise,” it is even more noteworthy to hear the same claims coming from the mouths of tattooed punk rockers. Yet, that’s the sentiment that I’d hear from Austinites after bringing up Finally Punk**; too grating even for lovers of “chaos non musica.” A cornerstone of the band’s sound is the members’ “grab an instrument and play” approach—the ladies rotate instruments often as if assigned to an elaborate game of musical chairs (instrumental chairs? musical instruments?). Despite which permutation is assigned to a particular song, the performances are crude and teeter on disorder but never make it there (that they hover around the one-minute mark might play into that). On this, their third EP, the musicianship is more in control than on earlier recordings, which allows the band opportunity to veer into new territories. “Coffee, Tea, and Misery,” led by its meandering drums and all-around jagged delivery sees the band flirting with a Rough Trade-ready sound. Almost. Compared to the earlier records (especially the perfecto debut) this is less Foams, more Essential Logic (no sax here, though). In other words, although they are playing their instruments a little tighter, I do not suspect that the crowd of moms and punx will take to the band any time soon. (DH)
* Yours, mine, it doesn’t matter; any assorted old folks will do.
**Admittedly, this may be the result of the sample population and not necessarily reflective of the great city of Austin as a whole.
(M’Lady Records // myspace.com/mladysrecords)

Genetic Angry "Thoughts" 7"
Slow-death hardcore-punk via some youngsters from Nova-fucking-Scotia. Think post-Damaged Flag, some ominous riffing, simple yet effective anthems of alienation. Nothing fancy, but enervating in the way you can tell it's a bunch of juniors getting theirs even if they haven't grown into their musical chops yet. Not completely inept (but good-n-rough around the edges), not super fast or complicated either, but raging and pounding nonetheless. Drums are so simple it's near brilliant. A-Side ("Thoughts") is the punch in the face, B-Side is slow repeated kicks to the kidneys while you're down, including a clever stroke in breaking the song into two parts. Loudfast doesn't always rule, this ones proof. I'd love to hear more from these dudes. Scum stats: 300 copies, plain black sleeve.(RK)
(Sewercide Records // myspace.com/sewerciderecords)

The Go "You Go Bangin' On" 7"
I liked a Go song a lot way back when. I can't remember what it was now though. Wasn't Jack White in this outfit at some point? Title cut is neo-Beatles garage-beat, with harmonica and piano. Sounds like they wear matching suits. "Maribel" has a real big chorus, and includes some sax, maybe a little T.Rex in there too. The hooks on both tunes ain't too shabby, you could do a lot worse than this record these days. Well crafted pop-style stuff, for sure. (RK)
(Italy Records // www.italyrecordsdetroit.com)

Golden Triangle "Prize Fighter" 7"
Southern transplants (Alix from Lids/Angry Angles and the always busy Nick "Death Ray" Diablo) combine forces in NYC with a few other broads and form a band that sounds totally "hip". Gang vocals from the girls with some ghostly male accompaniment at times, I like when the noisier aspects of their performance take the forefront, like the SY touches of their first 7", and I like them less when they sound like three chicks moaning over the hammering of strings. "Night Brigade" does well for me, it has the sort of downward guitar drive I dig, and the mushmouthed manghost vocals take over, with the girls adding harmony/back-up parts. As a whole though, I get a little too much NYC-scene hipster jive from this stuff. I probably shouldn't have watched that Vice video of them at their practice space before i reviewed this. Gack. Scum stats: 100 on gold, 500 on black.(RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

The Gothiefs "Hongkong Rocks" 7"
My man Nils of Superhelicopter/Damnation Kids fame back at it. I've been a long-time fan, of the opinion that the first two Damnation Kids singles and select Superhelicopter records are unsung classics. Here Nils pairs up with another German and belts out two. Perhaps unaware that "Chinese Rocks" had already been written, Nils does his own heroin trib via "Honkong Rocks", an all-too-brief hurricane of inthered guitar squelch, overblown drums and madman yelling. Fantastic but damn short. B-Side, "Limited Applied", opts for more stomp instead of fury, still screaming, but could pass as an Oblivians tune. A-Side kills, but it's too short to declare this a must-have. (RK)
(High School Refuse Records // www.xs4all.nl/~rinsma/hsr/)

Grave Blankets "Our Love Is Real" 7"
I absolutely loved this band's debut single from last year, and this new one is even darker and nastier. "Our Love is Real" hitches together timepiece drums with a bass sound right from the gut and a strangled guitar and stomps all over your heart. Girl-guy vocal trade-off on both songs is like heaven vs. hell. Nick's vox are some of the most primal and guttural sounding I've heard in a long time and Lula holds her own without resorting to screeching. "Trip Wire" steps forward with a foreboding bassline and trips the fuck out on it. Like a less drug-addled and over-the-top Necessary Evils and certainly referencing some of Australia's finest and swampiest. One of the best singles of the year, hands down. Scum stats: HozAc gold of 150, I prefer the regular cover to the limited sleeve. I recommend multiple copies. (RK)
(HozAc Records // www.horizontalaction.com)

Gut Reactions "Yer So Cruel" 7"
Miles better than their debut 7", which was mundane at best. "Yer So Cruel" has a nasty-type Nineties-Crypt garage sting to it that seemed lacking from that first batch of bland tunes. This one has legs. "Jihad Blues" sounds like early Catholic Boys damp-basement-punk, "Happening" is garage-punk bitching that ain't too shabby. A marked improvement from that first EP, and while it's not a bona fide blazer, it's good enough to pique the interest of garage turkeys into Wisconsonian garbage-rock. I give it three cheese curds out of five, and a pat on the back for not playing folky-jangle-rock. Produced by Paul "Douchebag" Reject! Scum stats: 300 copies on black.(RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Heathern Haints s/t 12" EP
Hippie folk rock goth-drone from Nashville. Sounds like The Doors with Ian Astbury fronting them. Didn't that actually happen at some point? Like some RNR Hall of Fame ceremony or something? Tribal and melodramatic all at the same time. This is the kind of crap that shouldn't be getting any lip service around here, but I actually paid (gasp!) for this, so I feel the need to harsh on their mellow a little. Shame on whoever recommended this to me, even if it was only $10. 300 copies, on various vinyl colors, each with a unique sleeve. So special.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/heathernhaints)

Hibachi Stranglers "Parasol Parade" EP
"Livin' the Nite Lite" is simply a monolith of strange-punk jamming, led by a stacatto guitar lead left to float in a cloudy sea of bass/drums/synth and chanted choruses. It sounds huge and has an engagingly dark almost New Wave sort of presence. I have no qualms in saying it's one of the better songs I've heard all year. They go from the density of the A-Side to a more punk sound on the B-Side, stomping out the dum-dum puker "Rocket to the Crotch" and an off-kilter marcher in "Azalea Trail Bait", which actually sounds a little like the Buttholes somehow. Reminds me of a bad trip I had at summer camp once. Cool? I think so. Alabama should be proud of these guys. Scum stats: 500 pressed on marbled vinyl, undisclosed number of "special edition" covers (regular cover with some color sprayed on). (RK)
(Jeth-Row Records // myspace.com/jethrowrecords)

His Electro Blue Voice "Duuug" 7"
Dramatic post-punk sounds from this Italian three-piece. This one actually sounds a little more "rock" than the SS release, but still maintains that in vogue weird-punk sheen without relying on synths. Quite creative with the instrumentation. "Duuug' sounds like huskier and meaner Warsaw/JD. "Fury Eyes" is a more serious headkicker, with some I-mean-fucking-business screaming/cursing. Viscerally thrilling stuff, rife with anger and gloomy overtones, that doesn't get dragged under by heavy-handedness or Goth pretension. Pretty serious business, I like it a lot.(RK)
(Sacred Bones Records // www.sacredbonesrecords.com)

Home Blitz "Weird Wings" 12"
First large sized release from Daniel Dimaggio and his Homeblitz. Things start off on the right foot with "Right Cut Even" where you can hear a telephone (unintentionally, I believe) ringing in the background at a couple points during the recording of this wonderful slice of broken power-pop. "Little League" is a masterpiece of schizophrenia...it starts off with some Richman-like talking and then I swear he plays the Homeblitz equivalent of some shit-fi blast-beats or something, then all of a sudden, presto! We break into a sunny (yet lovingly off-key) pop chorus, and then finish with some speed-trial garage. Nuts! And it works! How? I don't know. Ask Daniel. B-Side tacks on three more that continue to cement the Richman/J.Fair/Barlow comparisons. "Flying" might be the peppiest Homeblitzer yet, I detect a little NWOBHM aroma, but I'm probably way off, but it has some killer noises in it too. "Something to Do" is punk as fuck and reminds me a little of the Angry Samoans (maybe just because the beginning reminds me of "You Stupid Jerk" though...). "My Town"? Fuck man, Slade gets turned into a New Jersey anthem. Believe that. These songs actually appeared first on the HB CD on Gulcher, but no one heard them, because no one buys Gulcher CDs.(RK)
(Parts Unknown Records // www.partsunknownrecords.com)

Hunx "Good Kisser" and "You Don't Like Rock'n'Roll" 7"es
Kitschy outwardly homosexual-and-loving-it hairdresser garage-pop from San Francisco, of all places! Let's discuss the Rob's House 7" first, the one with the scratch-off cover (which does reveal meat (cut) when scratched), it has a ramshackle lo-fi Ramones-vibe (lyrically and sonically) to get the fag hags bouncing, with the title cut having a nice glam-stomp to it as well. Totally cute, the lyrics are great too. The Bachelor 7" has the best cut of the bunch in "Good Kisser" (as well as the best lyrical couplet with "We'll go to Del Taco / And order something real macho"), big fun gay-pop with a nice hook, and the B-Side ("Cruisin'") is handclappingly catchy as well. I believe Nobunny co-wrote most of these songs, and if not, it sounds like he did anyway. Girls who work at salons should go nuts for this shit, and so should dudes who dig budget-bubblegum and aren't scared of records that prominently feature more than one type of organ. Get it? I had to slip at least one bad joke in here. Scum stats: Bachelor record is 500 copies on black wax with a big sticker included, Rob's House is 500 on black, 100 on clear. (RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)

Imaginary Icons s/t 12" EP
I wasn't that impressed with either of the Icons 7" releases, but spending a little more time with them during a 12" sitting gives me a better feel for them. I think they "mean it" a little more on this record...the singles seemed a bit rote, but here they seem to have some fire, even if it's a cool post-punk flame. Big Wire vibes, and they throw some good changeups at you in the tunes, some walkie-talkie vox here, some ominous sounding horns(?!), "Economics..." sounds almost like a lazy NoWave dub version. They switch the pace up from song to song for good effect/sequencing too. B-Side definitely ups the potential for dancing, "Trace Yourself" is New Wave pop, and "Rosa Luxembourg" is a fittingly epic closer. I've heard more than a few bands go for this post-punk/DIY sounds and come off either too dry or just end up getting too busy and turning things into a mess. Imaginary Icons find the sweet spot here and lace a triple into the left field corner. Not a total home run, but still scoring a few runs. Scum stats: 500 hand-numbered copies, all on black vinyl.(RK)
(Daggerman Records // www.daggermanrecords.com)

Inmates “Now We Talkin’ Hardcore” EP
Inmates are one of the ballsiest hardcore bands on the planet. Just the epitome of tough-guy minus the self-assurance. For all the ‘edge bands out there with talk of unity and whatever other keywords beg the most results in the lexicon of meathead sentiments, the Inmates could beat them up. They could get drunk, and then beat them up. This is the band that got called out for selling coke (and not the carbonated type) at their merch table. Who the fuck does that? Oh… Cleveland’s pseudo-Brit-accent-toting fortunate sons whose legacies sport time in bands like Cider and the Darvocets do. “Rub & Tug” swoons with a lewd (perhaps autobiographical) slice of the fleshpots of Southeast Asia cummin’ here to new country yaaaaa. The best cut on this bitch. But there’s plenty of bold, unambiguous barre chords and “Hhra-hra-hhhrrrrraaaaaas” and “goat lords” and fighting-the-system-with-pilsner-in-hand sentiment to hold anyone over. I don’t really have any formal adjectives to use, but if you need something to crash your car to, get their “Assholes Unanimous” CD and listen to it on the way to church. This sounds like that, reduced to a science, and begging the sort of eyebrow-singeing byproducts that youthful mishaps with the chemistry set will. No beating around the bush with this slab. (BG)
(Kangaroo Records, Even Worse Records // google it)

The Intelligence "What Wine Goes With Eggs?" 7"
This one reminds me a little of earlier Intelligence, not quite as fancy or blown out as 'Icky Baby' onwards, but I'm just theorizing. Title cut shimmers strangely, guitars sound stretched and warbled while Lars deadpans over a simple digital drum beat. A good song that proposes an interesting question. Perhaps Andy Shernoff knows the answer. B-Side is a synth/drums sing-songer with a catchy vocal cadence to it. Something about maggots. Gross. Sleeve art by Lili Z., also "available on limited edition t-shirt", no idea on pressing size, so I'd get moving if I was you.(RK)
(April 77 Records // www.april77records.com)

The Intelligence "Fido, Your Leash Is Too Long" 7"
Another all covers outing for Finberg & Co. I really enjoyed the single on Disordered where they totally decontructed and blew out Pretenders and Dylan tunes. They do the same to this Magnetic Fields song, turning it on it's head and creating a very somber reading of it. Basically just synth and guitar with slight percussion and sad vocals. Very well done. On the flip they do Henry Essence...I mean, The Spits, and although I love "Shitty World" I was hoping The Intelligence would do something different to it. It's basically just a straight cover, and not that exciting. The Midnight version destroys this. Maybe they should've just done "14 Year Old Lover" instead. Scum stats: 650 copies.(RK)
(Plastic Idol Records // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

Jack of Heart "San Francisco" 7"
Piero (ex-Fatals, Go Go Players, Demon's Claws) and Benji from Creteens plus a couple other Frenchmen make up Jack of Heart, a more subdued outfit from some fellas know for the blown-out shit. I wasn't real impressed with any of their previous recordings, but this is the best of their stuff I've heard so far. "San Francisco" is a real majestic weird-Sixties slow beater with subdued vibes and whining guitar. "Ponytail #" is a plucky country number, that starts out sounding like a Teasers rip but actually turns out to be pretty pop. Not bad, but I still tend to think this stuff is second-rate. I didn't think that Sonic Chicken 4 record was that great either, but I have a feeling if you liked that LP a lot, you will enjoy this more than me. Scum stats: 500 on black.(RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

Jerk Alert "Dirty Slurs" LP
Dirty Chuck Taylors, black shirts with red ties, funny sunglasses...it's like 1998 all over again! Jerk Alert might be Bloomington Indiana's only punk band, so I guess they're not bad considering. But their pop-punk with some dirtied-up Rip off Records influence doesn't really make for interesting listening. Lots of the songs are from their gal singer's perspective about stupid guys, vibrators, stalkers, fucking, etc....It's like a Spastics record, except not that good or funny. And the Spastics weren't exactly worldbeaters. Or maybe a less exciting Dirty Sweets, and I'm probably one of only a dozen or so people in the world that still likes 'Bubblegum Damaged'. Nice packaging though. Scum stats: 525 copies, 25 with glitter sleeve, 25 with tour sleeve, with insert and stickers.(RK)
(Eradicator Records // myspace.com/rocknrollwithjerkalert)

Kamikaze Trio “Death Party” EP
Here’s a thick ass slab of wax with a pretty thin, trebly makeup, straight from down under. The Gun Club cover/title track on side A as well as “My Demons” exhibit lots of gain-drained leads sounding like they’re blowing your 10-watt Drive amp, the latter floating atop post-punk, grungy ‘90s-style three-frame drumming on a Scratch Acid bent that trots along like a three-legged horse whilst Sir Gawain serenades the peasants with a bucket of sonic excrement from atop. “Am I Losing My Mind” has lots of Blue Cheer-esque whooooops and high octave scaling, maybe providing an ode to the late great Child Molesters – equal parts eerie dirge a la “I’m So Fucked Up” and bassful bounce like “Wholesale Murder,” minus the charm. Fuck, that’s a lot of mashed up sound. And that’s just alright with me. (BG)
(A Fistful of Records // www.afistfulofrecords.nl)

Krysmopompas "Haute Schlafen - Morgen Aufwachen" 2XLP
Whether there are sauna, Solaria, or applications of waving, it [are] many possibilities of doing so to the body of property. The negative side of [Krysmopompas]: Hygiene lacking lets viruses, bacteria and mushrooms which can cause diseases [to] grow. So that consumers can recognize how exactly one enterprise takes it with the hygiene, there is a kind [of] private Sauberkeits TÜV now: the German hygiene certificate. The Promi hairdresser [band] Udo Roll has it already: a [surprisingly] "Humanistische" revision of Cold War Berlin "TV Tower" postpunk aesthetics, which [to] emphasize This Heat and Offourgangen, views These through the Lens of Fehlfarben, for whom Monarchie und Alltag is a legacy of bestselling proportion. The public institutions do heavily to control the Hygiene in all mechanisms, which offer beauty and Wellness, regularly. From Berlin comes now the private alternative, Haute Schlafen / Morgen Aufwachen, which sets with the German hygiene certificate “on advertising-effective self-check." It is incomprehensible [...] which hygiene deficits in many studios and business prevail, which used up themselves the health and the good appearance, are [Krysmopompas], who had the idea to an independent consulting and test enterprise, again and again on the new frightened. The consumer is by the way often enough too carefree. With a not[-]representative inquiry the Trägerin received citizens of Berlin of the entrepreneur interior price from 2004 that only 25 per cent of the visitors of a nail studio about hygiene thought. Even before the Piercing, nevertheless a smaller operation, were there only 54 per cent. Wagner is attained a doctorate Pharmazeutin, former Apothekerin, manager of a created Pharmagroßhandels and in the meantime evenly also Erfinderin of the label „German hygiene certificate “ [S-S Records]. Berlin and Hamburg are at present their test markets, but already soon the hygiene TÜV on all of Germany is to be expanded. 150 trained coworkers swarm then into the republic out. The Zertifizierer works with check lists, which were compiled with physicians and public health authorities. The examiners control work ice areas and the work behavior of the employees. For example they pay attention to [Sleep Struck, the first of two EP's collected in this 2LP set, which are a not unlike the] kind and frequency of the cleaning or whether animals may disturb so the hygiene into the business premises and emfpindlich. Hygiene becomes of lesser import on the second of said Extended Players, Wake Up Tomorrow, which lacks the crisp, post-Wire rattle of the first but otherwise compels with Youthful splendor and urgency that corrects discolored American angst [Fugazi] und [palm muting] with elusive cadence of "Outdoor Miner," primitive synth gurglenlachen Fairlight of "Running Up That Hill" (?!), and a relaxed vocalization [that] resonate with Jung and motorized album, fulfilling, and impossible to know. (AR)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Life Partners "AIDS of Spades" 7"
Genius song title, wacky vox, sickly organ riff, cracklingly scuzzy guitar tone, rhythmic muscle, cowbell...there's not a lot this tune is lacking. B-Side keeps it nasty with "Teenager in Trouble" which sounds like a lost Mclusky tune, from the "I'm soooo crazy!" vocal rant to the meaty post-scum rhythm held-down by a pretty raunchy sounding bass. I liked Mclusky a bit. I like this a bit. Vox get even wackier on this one. Definitely keeps it interesting, even if the offensiveness comes off as a bit forced. Accompanying letter says there are member(s) of Major Stars in this band, but I'm not sure I believe them. Cool record though. (RK)
(Ride the Snake // www.ridethesnakerecords.com)

Marked Men "Fortune" 7"
Latest from Texas punk-pop purveyors. They get some great guitar bluster going on "Fortune" but kinda gay it up with an overly emo-like chorus and lotsa whiny back-ups. B-Side sounds a little bit Brit-poppy. I wouldn't have guessed this was a Marked Men song in a million years. More whiny back-ups and some brief ringing guitar chords. The first Marked Men LP will probably go down as one of my favorite records of all time, but I think with this record I'm officially off the bus for good. I really haven't been totally on board since halfway through 'On the Outside' anyway. Scum stats: first 100 on pink vinyl. Makes sense.(RK)
(Dirtnap Records // www.dirtnaprecs.com)

Mean Jeans "Stoned 2 the Bone" EP
Two-piece rock outfit from Portland. The sleeve of this might have you thinking the members are Weird Al and John Kruk (but like 1987 Kruk, when he was still playing for the Padres and actually stole 18 bases). I also think we're about a centimeter away from seeing the dudes balls drop out the leg of his short-shorts as well. But cover ramblings aside, these dudes bring some game to the table. If I didn't already know they were from PDX, I would've pegged them as an NYC band. Title cut has a poppier DC Snipers feel, just a real good rock'n'roll workout. "Total Creep" is total Ramones reverance, with a little extra Marked Men-style flair on the chorus perhaps. Flip: "Invisible Bugs" brings to mind the trashy guitar-punk flavor that NYC legends Livefastdie have made a generous living dishing out. And the short "WTFA401K" is just the type of short-sharp-stupid shit Camero and Co. wrote the book (and tabs) on. Quite catchy all the way through, far better than you think it's gonna be. It's almost like The Mans, if the Mans played actual songs. Scum stats: 300 copies, some are green, some are black. Some have an insert. Some have a sticker. It's a crapshoot!(RK)
(Rehabilitated Records // rehabrecords-at-gmail.com)

Medication "Don't Die" 7"
"Don't Die" has already cemented it's place in my mind as one of the best songs I've heard all year. A haunting recording of one man and a guitar that sounds like it was done in a room with the acoustics of an empty 50 gallon steel drum, subliminal double-tracked vocal apparitions, simple and emotionally resonant lyrics delivered with an understatedly great voice, singing as if there might be a ghost hanging over his shoulder at that very moment. Lo-fi melancholia at its best, yet delivered with such grace that you can easily empathize and perhaps even detect a slight glimmer of dusty sunlight penetrating the dark. "Fog" marries some primitive percussion to the acoustic guitar, the thump of a drum or a box, the slight jangle of a tambourine perhaps, a more plaintive feel overall, but still fulfilling and well crafted. I was an avid fan of the Medication Myspace page, which is something I rarely do, so I think that says a lot about how quality I feel these recordings are. It's a pleasure to have them on vinyl. One of my favorite HozAcs to date. Scum stats: 150 on gold, I prefer the alternate b&w cover, as it lends the record a creepy Jandek-like air.(RK)
(HozAc Records // www.horizontalaction.com)

Megafuckers "Escalation" 7"
Loud and brash 7" featuring ex-members of Landed. Noise-core with bludgeoning bass at the front of the mix, guitars add punctuation to the whopping rhythm anchored by some technically sound drumming. Slightly arty, a little bit mathrock-y. Both tracks are the sorta "hardcore" that dudes who were in arty/noise-type bands make, meaning not really "hardcore" per se, but fast paced heavy rock with shouted vox and fancier musicianship. That's not a diss, I'm just trying to tell you what goes down on this record. It sure ain't bad, but nothing I'm in a hurry to listen to again either. The cover art kinda rules though.(RK)
(Deleted Art // www.deletedart.org)

Mr. California & The Flintstone Sound Express "Crazy Toons" EP
As far as Mr. California records go, this is a really good one. Not that I'm saying his records are usually bad, I just don't think most of them are as uh...accessible as this one. Maybe. But anyhoo, the FSE are the State Police on drumbox, with what I think might be a couple of the Shoot It Up dudes adding guitar/bass, with the man himself on vox of course. Personally, I find Mr. California infinitely more interesting and entertaining than a lot of party-pooper cold-wavers out there, using almost the same set of tools and achieving far different results. Oh, but, there's no fucking synths on this record. Yeah, I can dig that. "It's Really Love" and "Pretty Face" could be the bastard offspring of Homeblitz. "Gin and Tonic"? The guy writes a song about one of the most under-rated drinks of all time, and it's a partier. Really, this whole thing kinda sounds like if the guy from the "I'm In Your Band" prank from the Great Phone Calls CD finally released something on vinyl. A funnier and more punk record than most shit I've sat through all year. Almost as good as that last Vilenty Ill 7". Scum stats: 100 on yellow, 200 on black. Buy 'em both.(RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Muslims "Parasites" 7"
Garage band "influenced by" Wooden Shjips, Loop, Spacemen 3, J&MC, in that order. In the words of David Brent, "A good idea is good forever." K-Tel style Spacemen cover on flip. Price: $8.(AR)
(I Hate Rock & Roll // www.ihaterocknroll.com)

Nerve City “Bars” 7”
This is a particularly chilling vinyl debut. Nerve City's music is always atmospheric and often depressing, but "Bars" descends to a harrowing new depth. Drawn out at a deliberate pace, the layers of reverb and menacingly slow pick slides spin a cavernous, hopeless tale of woe. It's haunting—I wouldn't want to play this on a bad day. "Over It", on the flipside, may offer some relief. It is a stellar garage stomper, recorded in the same cave as "Bars" but up tempo and with lively hooks. Rich K always loves his "Scum Stats", so to appease the man: 200 press, green wax, ex-Poison The Well. (DH)
(Severed Hand Records // myspace.com/severedhandrecords)

Ooga Boogas "Romance and Adventure" LP
Eagerly anticipated full-length from these Aussie supermen, members of every band from The Sailors to The Onyas to Eddy Current Suppression Ring. A real meeting of the minds here. It's never disappointing and always delivering some sort of thrill. At first glance, you're tempted to just call it caveman rock, just dudes banging out the simple ram-jammers. But if you look closely, you'll see where those Country Teasers comparisons came from. They have a knack for takin' the piss and you might not even realize it. They recast genres through their own Antipodean filter: the boogie-rock of "Oogie Boogie", the down under surf's up of "Kiss Your Rocks Goodbye", the lo-fi theme to the dumbest spy film ever with "Ooga Booga I", the post-punk of "The Clock Is Ticking", the garage-folksy "Fannie Mae"...I could go on. I will. "Neon Sunset" sounds like aboriginal A-Frames. "I Can't Clear My Name" is outlaw garage straight from the outback. It's a record full of spirit and good humor played without abandon by a bunch of blokes who are a lot smarter than they look. Honestly, I think it's better than 'Primary Colors'. But that's just me. See for yourself. Definite top ten of the year material. Beautiful gatefold package as well.(RK)
(Aarght! Records // www.aarghtrecords.com)

Party Fowl "STD's" 7"
From the same crew as Traditional Fools and Charlie & the Moonhearts. Sounds more like Moonhearts-style surf-garage than Fools budget-slop. One-sided 7" with two brief snotblowers. Not really worth it, there are much better bands/records from this scene (on the same label as this one, even) you should buy instead. For Ty Segall completists only. Scum stats: 300 press.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // goodbyeboozy.blogspot.com)

Perfect Fits "Radio Transmitter" 7"
I liked what these guys did on the split with that Twinkle Van Winkle babe, but I think both tunes here come across as just too much like cookie-cutter power pop played by a bar band. "Songs About Girls", yeah, there's a lot of 'em, and this ain't one of the better ones. "Radio Transmitter", I feel like I've this one before...."My heart's a radi-oh-oh-oh transmitter...", I called that chorus before I even threw this one on the player. Generic, but not really offensive. Unless you're offended by bland songwriting. Scum stats: first 100 on red vinyl. (RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)

The Pets "Misdirection" LP
Whilst in the midst of being bogged down by a mountain of reviewables, things slip throught he cracks. Sometimes I let them slip by, figuring a release got enough lip service elsewhere, sometimes I let them slip by because they were unremarkable. And sometimes I just end up just forgetting to write a review, even though I listened to the album a bunch. I gotta say something about 'Misdirection'. Total sleeper. While the Gentleman Jesse LP got all the glory, I think I actually ended up listening to The Pets LP a lot more. Year-end stats say at an almost two-to-one ratio. Not to say the JG LP ain't great. I think the Pets LP just might be greater, and I think a lot of people are still snoozing on it. A garage-cum-powerpop trio with a pedigree that fulfills some of the promise FM Knives left us holding close to our hearts, but with a rangier, more polished, yet somehow catchier songflow. One of the better bass performances of the year as well, just one part of a super-tight band. "Blame It On The Kids" is the obvious hit, but there isn't a dud in the bunch. Most LPs of this ilk peter out after the first song on the B-Side, but the Pets hide some of their best stuff on the flip ("Heat Attack", "Leaving Home"). Packed with anthems, vocals might make-or-break for some, but I love 'em. I'm also very appreciative they didn't repeat any songs from their singles here (all of which seem to be still available for some reason...why the hell aren't these sold out?). The Pets are right under your noses, people. Remove your heads from your asses and pay attention. A vinyl only release, first 100 were on blue vinyl, I believe.(RK)
(Static Impulse Records // www.staticimpulserecords.com)

Press Gang s/t 12" EP
Semi-anthemic drunk-punk from Germany. The Teutonic accented English sounds somewhat threatening, adding a slight whiff of menace to the otherwise banally punk proceedings. I think this record is best summed by simply reiterating Press Gang's motto: "All our orgasms are DIY", which they decided to even etch into the dead wax. Not bad for Germans, I guess. There's a couple songs on here I would listen to again...if I was forced to. Scum stats: 650 copies with huge fold out poster and insert.(RK)
(Radio 81 Records // www.radio81records.com)

Quan and the Chinese Takeouts “Crazy Pills” 7"
Two well-crafted albeit amateurish garage jams from this LA outfit. The keys, buried under the rest of the pop assault, still stick out like a sore thumb thanks to their supersonic pitch. I wouldn’t mind so much if they contributed to some erratic interplay with the great cardboard box of a snare tone to make some righteously weird ass noise, but they seem to snub one another and remain jiving like they’re not destined for glorious gay-noise romance, copulating in the hammock of West Coast punk-pop. Since that ship sailed, what’s left is a really catchy punk romp on side A, sounding like a faster, harder, fuller and more instrument-savvy Dangerloves (with female vox just assisting the male ones), side B being maybe an attempt at late era Stooges on the highway to Kill City, but refined and replacing dirge-swagger with humorless sad pop. Can’t knock ‘em for lack of sincerity though: a self-released single, press of 100, cheesy stickers and a mangy die-cut sleeve that bears the record’s silver labels – A insisting it was recorded in… get this… “Fabulous Quanophonic Sound!,” and B a pint of lo mein. A sad qualifier for the “50¢ singles” box, me thinks, whether it deserves it or not. (BG)
(self-released // myspace.com/thechinesetakeouts)

Rantouls "Chug A Lug" 7"
This 45 makes a few things abundantly clear to me:
1) The Fevers should never play together again because the Rantouls are far better (as is the case with Brian's sadly unrecorded band Skipper). I like the Fevers as much as the next guy but for the past few years they've been lacking the lighthearted zest the Rantouls are imbued with. Plus Gavin writes killer songs that are more fun to listen to than well-played covers. Speaking of which:
2) "No Love in Return" might just be #1 on my imaginary top of the pops chart for 2008 were I the type compelled by OCD to assign numeric rankings to my record collection. I remember playing a show with the Rantouls at the Fabric House over a year ago - nothing more than a kid's bedroom in reality - and nudging my label partner/bandmate when they played this song and yelling in his tinnitus plagued ear, "DUDE!!! WE NEED TO PUT THIS SONG OUT!!!" It was that important. It still is. However the impact of the overall package is less than it could have been due to two factors:
3) As good as it is, I dunno about the decision to put the lone cover - "Chug A Lug" - as the first song on the a-side. At least not when the Rantouls have at least six killer original a-sides in them as evidenced by the lone eight song set I witnessed. Unfortunate sequencing decisions are nothing compared to my next point though:
4) A gigantic oozing turd takes up roughly twenty percent of the cover. You might think I'm making too big a deal out of this, BUT TAKE A LOOK AT THE THING!!! For the longest time I thought Gavin and Will were supposed to be unwitting participants in a German scat movie but then I realized the melted feces in the top corner was actually a piss-poor rendering of a record covered in chocolate. Instead of concentrating on the cool and rather clever motif of the Rantouls holding miniature versions of themselves in their hands my initial reaction was to debate cutting up the insert and pasting it on so as to cover up that eyesore. In the end though my childhood as a comic nerd wouldn't allow me to deface a record despite an over sized logo that reminds me of last weekend when I ate some Somali Sliders and experienced Allah's take on Montezuma's Revenge.
5) I've been playing this thing all the time since I bought it last summer. In this day and age it's rare for a new single to stay in my "heavy rotation" stack next to my turntable for more than a month but this thing has been there for about five months or so with no sign of being demoted to the ranks anytime soon.
6) "You Won't Have Me" is another gem of a song. I'm a sucker for the whistling solo and the perfect "ba-da-ba-bas" that punctuate each chorus. One of my greatest ambitions is to write a successfully write a song using "ba-bas" in it. So far my attempts have all been met with failure.
7) If I had the money and time to be putting out records right now the Rantouls are one of the first bands I'd want to do a record with. Of what I've heard my picks for the next single would be "Little Green Hat" and "A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That." Whatever they do is going to be great though. The Rantouls can do no wrong. Except in the cover art department.(SB)
(Chocolate Covered // www.chocolatecoveredrecords.com)

The Rebel "Live AIDS" 7"
"Recorded live and dubbed over early 2007" says the sleeve, so I'm not quite sure how "live" this is really is, but it sounds good regardless. Sophie on drums, Wallers on everything else (mostly synth). "In My Wallet" is an eerie instro-piece, that gets a little drum break and synth finger at the end, which opens the floor for "Just Like Tammy Wynette", the real meat-n-potatos of the record. A winding and repeating double-organ line with loopy live drums over which we get a Wallers mantra/diatribe. Far better than any Maggots song. B-Side is more on the experimental side, some collage-type stuff, a cut-up droner, a drums-only track. A-Side is good stuff, B-Side is more for fans only. I've rarely flipped this thing over from the "....Wynette" side. Scum stats: 350 copies on yellow vinyl, gorgeous over-sized double-sided silk-screened sleeves, with a deconstructed cock-n-balls hidden in the design. PS: this is different stuff than the material on the Sacred Bones LP.(RK)
(Kanker Mongool // myspace.com/kankermongool)

Red Hearts "Let's Get Lost" 7"
Two-songer from LA-mod-poppers, released on a French label, slick production, very British sounding, The Jam in particular with a bit of latter day Clash as well, average tunes, B-Side ("The Big Rip Off") is the catchier and less copycat sounding cut to me. These dudes are in to win it, but it's not absolutely terrible. What's terrible is the letter accompanying that shamelessly flaunts connections to the Plastic Letters and Pink Spiders somehow. That's not info you want to share, dudes. In other news, by visiting the April 77 website I discovered that they are releasing an awesome looking Intelligence 7"(!), that there's another current band called The Pets (from Sweden) and that the label also apparently has their own clothing line, including a cardigan called "The Richie"! (RK)
(April 77 Records // www.april77records.com)

Red Mass s/t 12" EP
Red Mass: a Montreal "collective", spearheaded by Roy Vucino (aka Choyce of so many great Montreal bands I'm not going to list them), which cites just about everyone who plays an instrument in the city as a sometime memeber. You get the feeling it's Roy's party, and whoever happens to be along for the ride that day or week. "Radio Radio" brings me back to the days of The Daylight Lovers (back when Roy was billed as The Warden, and who released some great and sorely under-rated records) through its catchy-yet-edgy garage bounce, tweaked via Roy's multi-tracked basso vocals. "Let's Play Dead" continues down the dark alleys CPC Gangbangs crept through, propelled by percussion that sounds like some hydraulic contraption with a bell and some weird blip-bleeps. French Canadian weird punque. "Terrorizer" is not a tribute to the metal magazine, but does remind me a little bit of The Who gone to seed. Roy's vocals really carry this one, they're so deep at times it's frightening, but the music doesn't slouch either: heavy fuzz bass, static-solo that sounds ready to fall apart, lots of abrupt edits that add some nice points, and above all, a killer groove. "Take A Chance" is the weirdest of the bunch, a free jazz workout with some smashing drums, horn bleats, circuits and Roy doing a little crooning. The Roy Vucino Jazz Explosion? It's OK with me. I was distraught over the demise of CPC Gangbangs, but I feel better after hearing this. And you can never go wrong with the 12" EP format. Scum stats: 550 copies, black vinyl.(RK)
(Psychic Handshake Recordings // myspace.com/psychichandshake)

Red Mass "Pourquoi?" 7"
Title cut is dreamy French Canadian garage-psych, tres Sixties, lots of shakers and backwards guitar canoodling with a little balls on the chorus, bookended by an Eastern-tinged intro/outro that sounds remarkably like the theme to Squidbilles. Flip is "Dig My Grave", a dead-end blues with an inspired vocal performance from Roy. Features backing from Honey & Lies, which indludes members of Sunday Sinners and Mystery Girls. I'd test the waters with the 12" first and then proceed to this one if you're digging that. A-Side is really "choyce" though. Har har. Scum stats: 300 press.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // goodbyeboozy.blogspot.com)

Reprobates “Stress” EP
Toronto’s most American hardcore act dishes out five tunes that sound scraped off the floor of their practice space, siphoned out of a coffee can walkie-talkie recording or, perhaps, recorded live in a couple takes. Yep, the latter. It kind of sucks how lo-fi this recording is, even after a hefty mastering job, because their M.O. – a wall-of-noise frontal attack – is lost in translation. I feel that Reprobates are one of the rare truly violent but tasteful hardcore bands. The antics aren’t out of place with the caliber of the tunes is what I’m saying. The set I saw of theirs this summer was one that resonated with me for reasons of crossing that line in the sand from the safety of trite showgoing mediocrity to actual danger. The survival impulse kicked in. Vocalist Shawn (who looks like he just got out of prison or back from Iraq or something as opposed to the usual complacent vegan ballbag pile of bullet-belt social-class-conscious pulp of a clueless couch potato dick cheese space case), fueled by a steady supply of Natty Ice, physically attacked the audience (not in a passive way – the real deal), before being dove onto off of a bar and his grand finale of sticking the mic cable in his asshole, his rump bearing a pretty classy “666” tattoo. I guess… Urban Waste? Jerry’s Kids? Are those good points of reference? Reprobates are a little different, sounding not like they’re charting those musical avenues, but resentfully trapped in the confounding noise of commerce going on atop these streets. A hardcore band that’s not trying to rationalize their downtrodden state by creating something artistic out of it, but by blowing the situation to hell. Puppets on the strings of the modern age. Suicide over resolution. All that shit. Good shit. (BG)
(No Way Records // www.nowayrecords.com)

Mike Rep & The Quotas "Songs the Grackles Liked" 12"
What's the difference between this latest Rep record and the average bar band? Well, Mike Rep wrote "Rocket to Nowhere", which gets him a wide berth. Most bar bands don't have the reputation of writing a classic song in their past. But sonically, they sound kind of the same. MR & the Qs do a rocked-up version of Tommy Jay's "I Was There" that certainly doesn't improve any on the original. Followed by T.A. Lafferty's "Time On My Hands" that sounds...like a bar band. A jammy bar band. And you want to talk about jams, then let's talk about the one Rep-penned cut on this, "Lemuria". Jam-tastic, dudes. If it was anyone other than Mike Rep playing this, you would laugh at it. You know I'm right. They finish with another Tommy Jay cut, "I'm Goin' Down", and I would suppose it's the most palatable of the bunch. You probably think I'm a dick for panning this record, but I'm just being fucking honest. I fucking l-o-v-e that Tommy Jay record. There's no denying that Squidfish/Rep/Jay are legendary. But here they sound like some old dudes going through some mediocre bar-rock moves, and that's being kind. There's never going to be another "Rocket to Nowhere", from Rep or anyone else. Lightning doesn't strike that often. I respect what these guys are doing, but you shouldn't feel indebted to like it just because of past accomplishments. Keep your eyes (or ears) open people.(RK)
(Columbus Discount Records // www.columbusdiscountrecords.com)

Rusted Shut “Hot Sex” 12” EP
White Noise. White Heat. White House. Paint peeling MINUTES of delayed vocals cut away to organ twiddling and bass throbbing with a trenchcoat mafia fashion sense. When the drums kick in the songs begin…uh, proper. It all bobs along like Brainbombs buried in an Anton LaVey circus (corpse) grinder fuck all. The guitar f/x and vocals start to bite. Ya’ think it’s skipping. It’s not. Stereo destroyer. All the more scary: these dudes are legit Texas out-theres. You can picture their nappy beards and feces encrusted sweatpants. Burzum albums. Miserable Life. Primordial Action Swingers vibe? Yeah, the stench is lingering. Before Jarboe-fucked-up-the Swans, the cutter fans and Trve Kvlt Metal denizens will have a heyday in this pile of puke. I can’t tell if it’s slowing down on its own or if my turntable belt just died. I’d review this track by track, but it all seems so blurry to me. I just woke up and I think my asshole is bleeding. This is hate. Like if Slicing Grandpa or Billy Bao were actually willing to kill people. File it in your “taste of plaque” section. 500 copies out there. Mine was lucky to come with a short DVD of them playing along with exposed titties and Painteens alumni. Groovy.(RSF)
(Dull Knife Records // www.dullkniferecords.com)

Ty Segall s/t LP
One-man-bandage from young Ty Segall (Traditional Fools/Party Fowl), a kid who seems to be getting the big push lately from certain corners. Well deserved, as evidenced from some great work contained herein. He lends a certain sophistication to the OMB formula, staying away from garage-genre cornball stuff or trying to out-wild The Haze. He takes an admirable stab at making the genre his own, giving it a laid-back California feel at times, and at others investing the songs with a complexity I didn't think possible via the restrictions of the one-man-game. Quite a few outstanding cuts, particularly "The Drag", the lilting Ohsees-like "Untitled" and "You're Not Me", and just so you don't think he can't rock out, "Oh Mary" is quite a shitstomper. Bonus points for doing a decent Ramones cover as well. "An Ill Jest" switches to just Ty and an acoustic to end the album, and I think only hints at his songwriting prowess. I expect bigger things to come from this kid (outside of the one man band platform as well...or I hope), but this LP is a nice initiation. This LP plays at 45rpm in a nice touch, was released on John Dwyer's Castle Face label, and seems to be available via Chocolate Covered Records.(RK)
(Castle Face // myspace.com/tysegall)

Ty Segall "Skin" EP
I kinda like the style on this one better than the LP. Ty's still playing everything himself, but not restricting himself to the OMB set-up, and tracking all the instruments himself in a "studio" setting. Really killer garagers with weird/dark pop twists, some reverb-y surf moments, just enough fidelity on the recordings. Reminds me a little of Matt K. Shrugg's better moments, another killer drummer releasing a bunch of solo records lately. Ty has a little more bite than MKS though. Four tracks, all worthwhile, including a clever little instrumental to close. I'm digging this kid. Scum stats: 300 press.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // goodbyeboozy.blogspot.com)

The Selmanaires "Princess Illusionist Frankenstein" 7"
Locals-only release from Rob's House. Selmanaires meld 'Saturday Night Fever'-era Bee Gees disco beats to moany indie "psych" vocals on the A-Side. Totally fruity dance music with totally shitty song title. B-Side might be more of a mellow Brit-pop rip or something. I dunno what else to say, except that I think I just heard my wife say she liked this from the other room, which is always a bad sign.(RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

The Shirks "Dangerous" 7"
Debut platter from Bart Hart's latest DC-punk discovery. "Dangerous" is a Teengenerate/NBT-styled time trial with roaring production. "Young and Filthy" recalls the poppy garage of the Marked Men, especially when they hit the chorus. B-Side sounds like street-punk though, right down to the faux-British (or is faux-Australian?) vocals. I've heard the singer is ex-Problematics. Not sure if that's true or not, I don't remember this much Saints worship with that band. Pretty good A-Side though, could Big Neck pick up the ball that Rip Off Records dropped? Really lazy cover art that's a bit disappointing though. (RK)
(Big Neck Records // www.bigneckrecords.com)

Matt K. Shrugg "Phono" & "I'm Gone" 7"es
Pretty mixed bag here. As I've stated before, MKS writes absolutey killer garage-punk songs, the type you think you've heard a million time before, but imbued with some real energy and character to make them stand out. When he gets "weird" I lose interest. Both side of the "Phono" 7" are just that, with the title track being particularly lame. Just sounds way too cute and cluttered, reminds me of some half-baked thing Beck would've thrown together. B-Side is a little less busy and is more pop oriented, but gets pulled under by more tricks (backwards tape loop, a not-needed screaming/drum break and an announcement that the final verse is coming...), warbly vocals again remind me of Beck, and not my man Jeff Beck either. Just sounds a little forced and a little weird in an arts-n-craftsy way, if you get what I'm saying. He remedies things some on the other 7" with "I'm Gone", another fine garage-pop gem full of breakneck drumming, great vox/guitar sound and a big hook. "We're S.O.L." on the flip isn't quite as memorable, but is still better than anything on the other single. Not as peppy as his usual stuff, has a nice garagey feel, but the lyrics get a little cornball. I'm not a fan of spelling things out on choruses ("We're so s-o-l..."). Pretty good song other than that. One real keeper out of four tracks...I'll stick the Pizzas 7" and the B-Side of the TTT 7". Give me a whole album of that stuff. Scum stats: 400 of each, "I'm Gone" (the one with the back of his head on the sleeve) is on clear, the other is on white.(RK)
(Plastic Idol Records // www.plasticidolrecords.com)

Sinks "No Money" 7"
This might be the first I've ever heard of these young Minnesota lads. I might have another 7" somewhere, but can't remember hearing it, if that says anything. Perhaps that's not a fair thing to say, but it's true. They play goofy garage-punk, mid-tempo, sloppy, sort of like Rip Off Records C-Teamers like the The Shifters or The Spites or something else suitably average. Sounds like the ramen noodles they lovingly cover themselves with on the cover taste. Not terrible, but nothing I would eat if I had some better options...Every town needs bands like this though, they keep the scene going and alive and energetic and stop old men like me from ruining it by wishing every band sounded like Flipper. Keep at it kids, don't listen to this asshole. Scum stats: 300 on black, 80 on white, 20 on gray. (RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Sleaze "Smokin' Fuckin' Cigs" 7"
This record is a portrait of the Sleaze as they were when I first saw them live three years ago: recent high school grads with ipods full of indie rock and hip hop who through their own ineptitude surreptitiously stumbled onto punk rock. But not just any punk rock though - we're talkin' THEE FUCKIN' PUNK SHIT. Q: How can you sum up the totality of teenage punk better than a song called "Smokin' Fuckin' Cigs?" A: You can't. What makes it even better is that they weren't trying to be ironic. They were just singing about what came natural to them, and that's the beauty of the Sleaze. Even though they've since discovered the world of Termbo-approved punk there's still nothing studied about them. But I digress. Back to this record: it's an overused analogy but it's apt and dammit this is my review so I'm going to use it anyway. Do a random taste test and put "Smokin' Fuckin' Cigs" on a mix tape of songs from KBD-style comps like "Staring Down the Barrel" and I doubt people could tell which song was of recent vintage. It's just perfect right down to the one note solo squeezed like an undersized tangerine for every bit of juice it will yield. "Machine Hand" on the flip is a worthy b-side. It's a jarring stop/start epileptic seizure of a tune that's over before it has time to really sink in but it stands up well to repeat listens. "Smokin' Fuckin' Cigs" is the real gem here though. Buy it. (SB)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashinableidiots.com)

Smart Cops “s/t” EP
Ball-gag wearing, dildo-gun-on-the-cover music group of hoppity high-octane Italian hardcore sounding like mustached Sicilian bread-makers yelling to a young ragazzo for lifting a roll. Smart Cops are sort of like a lower octane incarnation of these high energy Italians – an easing from the blisteringly treble-drenched La Piovra with whom they share members. In my opinion, better. But that band was like a coordinated car crash – overbearingly explosive, but in a manner that side B on a mere single of theirs was pushing it. This rings as sort of an ethnic Career Suicide, minus the phenomenal song-crafting. A very American dim-witted straightforwardness instead of pulling from the innovative CCMs and Indigestis of their heritage. Emphasis on catchiness instead of brutality, yet putting forth songs you can’t hum to yourself a millisecond after the side ends. Full production and strident musicality can’t replenish a well dry of hooks. (BG)
(Sorry State Records // www.sorrystaterecords.com)

Starving Weirdos "Absolute Freedom" 7"
Damn, this one tastes good! Deez ninjaz been rockin' the four-track, the laptop, the cup and ball for nearly a decade now in da virtual secrecy of Humbolt County, CA, a.k.a. marijuana-hippie-shitstick central. Although they sometimes break out the rain sticks, hand drums, and gee-tars, their bedrock practice is a kind of deep-forest ghetto musique concrete. Like Luc Ferrari in Tangiers or some shit, they got some of the finest ears in da bizness.
Whereas a lotta their colleagues and contemporaries, from Double Leopards to Yellow Swans, wallowed in a dense, stoney murk, the Weirdos play inside a vast dynamic range which they fill with fine, pointillistic sonic detail. Their shit is spatially disorienting: you can never tell whether what you're hearing is happening in real time or resulted from copious editing and overdubbing, whether it's tapes and loops or live instrumental performance, whether it occurred in an actual three-dimensional space or in the virtual sound-card reality. Often it's a combination of these. This particular sonic spunk party is of especial interest 'cos they seem to be playing as, with, or along to something like a "live" drummer who's got a distinctly Charles Haywardian pulse vibrating in his or her wrists. But then, who knows if it's actually live, or on tape? It's certainly their most "rock" gesture to date and on of the most intriguing entries in their rapidly expanding catalogue. To my ears, these pale soldiers have been making some of the most purposeful and riveting "low fi" sound art of the past few years, and I'm pleased to see this newish NYC label issuing their material on vinyl. Run, run, run!(AR)
(Abandon Ship // www.abandonshiprecords.com)

Static Static "Satanic Speakers" 7"
"Satanic Speakers" was on a previous uber-limited 7" in a different version I beleieve, I don't know if I recall real drums on this track before, and I'm not going to check. Either way, it's a textbook synth-punk stomper, heavy on the rhythm and overdriven guitar/synth buzz. Well done for the genre, but the vox get a little tiring. "Frantic" is a new one, not quite as bombastic as the A-Side, a little less raw, but with a more determined drive perhaps. Not a huge fan of the genre, but this shit could be some heavy dancefloor stuff in the right dingy club with a dancefloor full of people doing the right drugs. Scum stats: 100 copies on red, 400 on black.(RK)
(4:2:2 // myspace.com/mediegruppen422)

The Statues "New People Make us Nervous" LP
Totally slick pop-punk. I don't understand the difference between this and Blink182 or something, aside from the economics. Is there an underground for this type of stuff? I mean, I listen to scuzzy punk records on microlabels because that's the only place I can find it. I don't think the demographic this record would appeal to (mainstream teens) even own record players, and why would they buy this when they can just get the million sellers directly from iTunes for a quarter a pop anyway? Weird. Scum stats: this one is a limited Euro tour edition of 200 copies...ah, Euro Tour! Now I get it!(RK)
(Radio 81 Records // www.radio81records.com)

Subtle Turnhips “Fuck the People Fuck the Power” EP
“Fuck the People…” starts things off with a subhuman groovy hate fuck of a riff and that Black Time reckless abandon. Great shit-hot mouth screech of the BFTG variety continues it into the realms of...? Well, some sorta’ hobo-punk politico “fuck the system” diatribe. I only wish the band (there is one right? Fidelity makes ya think twice) would change it up a bit or throw some PG metal down a staircase. Something to give it an extra edge. But WHO CARES. That guitar pummel wins me over again and again. If only the Make-Up could’ve sounded this good.
Side B kicks in with more pig-fuck meets post-punk in a quickie called “Dinner Time”. Pretty awesome. Really short. The “who’za whazit?” happens in the form of “Summer Wine”. A laid back psych-hazed Syd Barrett (but French) singin’ for Wire gem that’s equally confusing as it is catchy...something I wasn’t even expecting on this record from the first half. Great stuff. I’m gonna’ try to download that free internet LP again. Usual Hozac ltd. Edition of 150 goldies and 350 regulars still floatin’ about.(RSF)
(Hozac Records // myspace.com/horizontalaction)

Suspect Parts “Seventeen Television” EP
Very British sounds via Portland from members of the Briefs and Clorox Girls. Not quite a Brief-status sassafras, or Clorox Girls catchy pop outing. More like other Portlanders like Red Dons and such. “Seventeen Television” denotes post-punk desperation. “Lesson,” vibrating Buzzcockish dancability. Meh. I’m not familiar with the Two Cheques, whose composition is given a go at the end, but “To Stone” is my favorite cut here. Sounds like a naïve teenager singing awkwardly into an old-time mic with a cocked head in a shopfront somewhere in San Fran circa ’68 – like it coulda been lifted from a reel lost in the compiling of West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s “Volume 1,” replacing the warm Western haze of reverberation with cold, thin Euro distortion. (BG)
(Deranged Records // derangedrecords.com)

Swinehood "I'm A Fucking Misanthrope" EP
Swinehood at their most aggressive here, meaning they sound like a Swedish Confederacy of Scum band throughout these six songs. High octane guitar burning, Ajax-n-razorblade vocals, rhythm section barreling like a Dodge Charger. Whether this is for you or not, I shall let you decide. The lyrics are full of hate, if that helps any. I used to correspond with Jeff Clayton a bit, super nice guy, but there hasn't been a good Antiseen record since like 1991. This EP could've been released on Baloney Shrapnel, circa 1998 or so. Know what I mean? I seem to remember this band being a little more interesting last time around... Scum stats: 500 copies housed in three different sleeves. You know the thing I really love about Ken Rock records? The labels. I always get a kick out of that guy's face and whatever zany changes are made to it on each release...(RK)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Throbbin' Urges "Out for Blood" EP
I thought the Throbbin' Urges LP was a sorely under-rated piece of Michi-punk that deserved some more attention than it got and definitely had some total killer moments on it. This EP leads me to believe I was right yet again. A-Side is end-to-end punk-rock burners with KBD-flair and a modern slightly-weird edge. "Out for Blood" is a fucking rocket to yr skull and "Iconoclast" is a moodier mid-tempo teeth clencher. Superloud recording legitimately "throbs", hardy har har...B-Side is a cover of "Rich Daddy", and it's good to some kids giving The Dicks the respect they duly deserve, even if I don't think it wise to attempt one of their songs. But the Urges manage to get through it without embarrassing themselves. A-Side is hot fucking shit though. Scum stats: 300 regular versions on black with screened sleeves, and 100 on red with an alternate sleeve, the always awesome personalized UFO Dictator insert, and a hilarious coupon you can cut and send in for a cassette dub of the 7". Really love this label.(RK)
(UFO Dictator // www.ufodictator.com)

Traditonal Fools s/t LP
At first glance, I thought this was just a vinyl version of the "Live at Wizard Mountain" tape. But it isn't, not exactly...it was recorded live at Wizard Mountain, but isn't the show from the tape, as far as I can tell. They still run through Childish and Kross covers, "Stash Comb" is re-titled "Snot Rag", "Please" is one of the best garage-snotters of recent vintage, they do some punishing surf-style numbers ("Layback!!!", "Shredstick"), "Milkman" is the best thing I haven't heard before. This thing whips by at 45rpm, wear a neckbrace. Real deal budget rock that could be passed off as recorded live at the Purple Onion in '95. Ty Segall bandwagon-jumpers, please take note. Someone tell Charlie & The Moonhearts to release an LP now.(RK)
(Wizard Mountain // www.wizardmountain.org)

Tranzistors "Yoo Will" and "Free Electrizity" 7"es
Please don't confuse this outfit with Canadian neo-powerpop snoozers the Tranzmitors. The Tranzistors are straight space-age glamrock on the Cass 7", very Spiders from Mars or a less celestial Zolar X/Twinkeyz. "Yoo Will" sounds a little overdone, but is glittery enough to shine through a bit with lots of synth swooshes and outerspacey circuits. And isn't overdoing it the point of glam anyway? B-Side ("Yoo Don't") adds some more prominent female vox and is a bit more ramalama Fifties sounding. A very likeable record. they sound a little bit mundane on the YSR 7", "Free Electrizity" is lacking some needed umph production-wise, but does have some hot lixx the other 7" didn't have. The B-Side is some sort of remix of the A-Side, if you count laying a coat of static-feedback over the original a remix. Or maybe it's a collage. Either way, you don't need to hear it. Go for the Cass release, it was a nice surprise. (RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)
(Young Soul Rebels // ???)

Tropa Macaca "Fiteiras Suadas" LP
Crazy fucking Portuguese, with their weird electronics, hashish curlicues, fucked-up anti-rhythms. What a country. I've been there once. All you could see for miles was salted codfish stands, medieval castles, sundry remnants of a once-thriving slave trade scattered across the verdant countryside. That was before globalization, before the euro, when the Internet was in its infancy. Nowadays, Portugal's cornered the market on brutal, synth-based fuckadelia, thanks in part to the efforts of Tropa Macaca, a young his-and-hers instrumental duo who, come to think of it, would make a nice triple-date with kangaroo chasers The Fabulous Diamonds and our very own chew-dippin' lovebirds, Blues Control.
What is it about this new crop of vague, hermaphroditic instrumental couples (and pseudo-couples) that's so instantly appealing and yet so hard to figger? Mebbe it's the sound of sexual chemistry (or, in the Diamonds' case, sexual misery) sublimated into music. Too easy? Well, for the armchair psychoanalysts among us, Tropa Macaca might be the toughest nut to crack. More aggressively abstract than the Diamonds, looser and less song-based than BC, Tropa Macaca's first long-player, Marfim, was a head-scratching exploration of robotic jungle rhythms, all sinewy synth lines and electropulses performing baroque and broken mating dances around each other.
Macaca's new one, Fiteiras Suadas, pushes the sweaty tropical motif even further while remaining firmly planted in a bedrock of primitive electronic minimalism. Confusing? You betcha. It took me a couple of spins to realize they weren't playing synths at all -- Fiteiras Suadas is actually a duet for samplers (I think). As far as I can tell, the sound sources are various Casio squawks, Korg arpeggios, and snippets of patch cord crackle, played and processed in real time. And some live electric guitar at the very end. Whatever the ingredients, listening to 'em means entering a disorienting alien environment held together by the tension between cyclic repetition and linearity, between machine-music and improv.
Touchstones? I'd say early Suicide, Terry Riley, Pan Sonic, TG, and the Krauts, but who the hell knows, really. I mean, parts of this record remind me of the Neil / Scott / Richard / Stewart record on Forced Exposure, and what does that tell you? If you want it, get one quick: Qbico pressings are pretty, they disappear in no time, and this one's already sold out at the source.(AR)
(Qbico Records // www.qbicorecords.com)

V/A Cave/California Raisins split 10"
I heard good thangs about this Cave outfit going into this record. Driving modern psychedelica, heavy (mostly) instrumental jams delivered in a style not unllike what Wooden Shjips are doing, but with more rock, more speed and less subtlety. The seven-minutes-plus "Butthash" is Hawkwind stealing the riff from "Stranglehold". The four-minutes-plus "Ravens Hash" recalls Steppenwolf with Perry Farrell running into the room to briefly drop a couple lines of lyrics and do a line. I didn't dislike this, but in the end I guess I'd rather listen to vintage psych than a modern take on it. They can beat a groove into the ground though, don't get me wrong. On the flip, California Raisins is a terrible name for a band, ironic or not. They play art-noise-punk. "Prospectre to the Stars" is a fair shot of overblown punk-moderne. The other tunes flail about with a lot of screaming and noise, but don't really make any lasting impression. Comes with a CD of the record and nice screened sleeves.(RK)
(Permanent Records // www.permanentrecordschicago.com)

V/A King Automatic vs. Bud McMuffin split 7"
Two songs from each, both are one man bands of a sort. King Automatic collaborated with Feeling of Love on the 'Great Reunion' 7", and his contributions here are moody multi-instrumental recordings (synth, harmonica, etc...over the usual OMB stomp), but nothing really above average. I can not take a dude with the name Bud mcMuffin seriously, but he at least imbues his tracks with a little lo-fi soul. He gets about half as much play time as the King though, who hogs both sides of the record. This one's for people who buy all those one man band records Squoodge puts out.(RK)
(Kizmiaz Records // myspace.com/kizmiazrds)

V/A Loving Thunder/Mountain High split 7"
Loving Thunder have a NWOBHM meets neo-stoner metal thing going on. Sound good and loud for just a drum-n-bass duo, I'm dying to say Godheadsilo meets Angel Witch or something equally retarded. "Magic Wand" is a pretty good slice of psychy metal. But "Liferider" gets a little too close to being both funky and prog sounding for me at times. The first Mountain High track kinda sounds like a boring Comets on Fire song without the good guitar parts to almost save it. The second one is more punk, with metal vox, and what's up with the digital drum pad sounds? 'Features members of FNU Ronnies'? That's kinda interesting. 'Toured with Japanther'? That blows. You get 1.5 good songs out of four here, but I'd probably check Loving Thunder out if they came to my town, just to be sure.(RK)
(Hot Dog City Record Co. // www.hotdogcityrecords.com)

V/A Perfect Fits/Twinkle Van Winkle split 7"
Perfect Fits side is Southern power-pop moves, "Childish Ways" is harmonious and hits in the right spots. Like a poppier Black & Whites perhaps. "All Cried Out" is meaner, with forlorn guitar action and I'm-not-gonna-love-again lyrical angst. Great side. Twinkle's side has more Southern twang, and maybe a little more adult-like rockin', but still keeps the hot pop action a-coming on "Ain't Wastin' Time", which has a really likeable vocal performance to boot. "Love You So Hard" is a real heartbreaker too, and so is that shot of her cleavage on the sleeve. Pick up this split for a nice powerpop fix, it should be getting a little more acclaim than what I've heard around these parts...Scum stats: 300 copies only on black vinyl, get it before it's gone...and you might already be too late. You're lucky Alicja likes to keep her releases in print...(RK)
(Contaminted Records // www.contaminatedrecords.com)

V/A Pharmacy/Japanther split 7"
Herr Gimp! Was ist diese scheisse?!(RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)

Wax Museums "Magnet" EP
The Wax Museums and Mike Sniper meet yet again for 7" number six (and a quarter). While I tend to be critical of bands who release large quantities of material over short spans, like our friends here, at least the Museums take the time to make every single seem like a fully thought out concept instead of just quickly shat out demos they threw to any label who happened to ask to release something. You can tell they really take pride in their craft. Which is more than I can say about some other bands out there these days. It's par for the Museums miniature golf course on this one, over really quick, pretty good tunes and I enjoyed the concept as well, but it's perhaps overshadowed buy the epic dumb-punkitude of their LP. Be sure to look out for the Wax Museums fan club, the plans for which are soon to be unveiled by Florida's Dying Records. Scum stats: 700 on black vinyl.(RK)
(Fashionable Idiots Records // www.fashionableidiots.com)

Weirdlords “Zizlore's Mansion” CD
Ex-New Luck Toy & Charming Snakes members throw down some plunk & drone that’s gon’ take the Pac NW by the nards. This was the last band I saw while living in Seattle, and I was pleasantly surprised at how scungy and fuck-all loud they were. Two bass players/gtr/drums and a lot of rumbling noise. I thought they sounded similar to Hammerhead back then, with a hint of the Intelli-Frames robo-vibe...but the dual bass gives it a thick n’ meaty metallic edge. That was then, this is now. Their first real recordings: “The Day is Dead” starts things off like '3rd Man Themes' Slug if the vox were cleaner and up front. “I’ll Bite” is the Weird in the Lords. Wouldn’t feel to out of place sandwiched between Love Tan or Factums, for all you Seattle completists. There’s some great outsider guitar crawling between those bass walls. Repetitive 'til the Thurston Moore break stirs things up. “These Flames” has a downer vibe to start off with, but somehow pulls you from the oven, pre-asphyxia, and lets you sing song the chorus on your way out of the camp confinements. Uplifting? Uh, no. Anyone else feel Silver Apples in this? Prolly not. Down right infectious though. I’d press this on vinyl if given a chance. “Joan of Ache” taps along like the members former band recordings, but this time the tape seems slightly more warped, overstretched and peeling apart. Mutant pop. More Moore Sister-era SY pulls a fast one on you. Yeah. That was cool. Ill-ectronics. “Lustrous Methodology” could appeal to the Nothing People crowd. The Olde Ones have spoken. Not sure what the fuck is going on with “Griffin Semen”, the disco ping is over soon enough not to cause a panic attack. The tongue-in-cheek gives away and then it swells and scrapes along like corrugated metal rusted on concrete. A messy ending that keeps me grinning. Backmasked dogs growl throughout the Karp-metal infusion that is “Interface Zenith”. Great short evil rocker. I might be biased, but this is a pretty great little plate to my ears. Not sure how many are pressed, but hit up their MySpace site to get a copy.(RSF)
(Aviation Records // myspace.com/weirdlords)

White Savage "I Prefer Savage" 7"
I thought that White Savage single on HozAc was a turd, faux-fur sleeve included. This, their second 7", is a marked improvement, yet still ends up being disappointing. Title cut could be considered this way: take the Jimmy Hollywood danger-punk Tyrades sound, slow it down considerably, and use the retarded backing vocals that band often utilized as the main singing voice for the project, add some No-Wave elements (including some weird dancey moves that almost get a little funky...) and replace the driving punk-guitar slash with heavy post-punk basslines. Still following me? I'm not sure it's a concept that works 100%, but I imagine they mean well. "Unload Your Gun" works in a lot of horn bleats and some more rhythmic bass-driven breaks. I don't know, it just leaves me cold. It sounds more like a lab experiment than a band. And I want more Jim Hollywood bands. Something with some more emotion though. Scum stats: 1000 copies, all on blue vinyl I believe. (RK)
(Flameshovel // www.flameshovel.com)

Wounded Lion "Carol Cloud" 7"
Let me give you the straight dope before DJ Rick bathes Scott Soriano Records' latest release in a shower of effusive verbal ejaculate. I have no idea who the fuck Wounded Lion are or where they're coming from. Hell, I can't even tell you if they're a good band or not because after listening to this 45 the jury is still hung like a horse.* "Carol Cloud" is nothing but a mildly catchy verse stuck between an idling dead-end riff where one would normally expect a chorus to be. If this song were a snack it would be a Quaker Rice Cake - so insubstantial that when it's over you're not sure it was ever really there at all. Maybe this sonic slight of hand is a sign Wounded Lion are practitioners of the magical arts; which would make sense since "Pony People" a magical song. Its a tune that compels one to hover over the turntable and keep setting the tone arm down with the sort of repetition a Nineteenth Century anthropologist would confuse for worship. I'm not ready to apotheosize this song by any stretch of the imagination but whatever is going on here is special. "Pony People" ambles along with an earnest Television inspired riff that ironically enough reminds me of nothing so much as the first Ponys single - well that and "97 Tears" by the Revelons - but there's so much more to it than that. An unstable drum breakdown rumbles beneath the surface like a deep sea earthquake and acts as a tasty counterpoint to verses brimming over with abstract yet obliquely mythological lyrics about searching for oneself underneath a friend's couch, finding centaurs and satyrs there in place of spare change, irrationally reacting to this phenomena by shooting arrows at some rabbits, and finally giving up and firing them into the sky in swirl of impotent frenzy. Dunno if it's great yet, but it's definitely really fucking good. A cursory visit to Wounded Lion's myspace failed to yield a song that packed the wallop of "Pony People" but if they wrote a song this good once there's no reason they shouldn't be able to do so again. Here's hoping they take their time between releases and don't settle for Quaker Rice Cakes when they're capable of serving gourmet fare. (SB)
* Ladies, I'm the only one on the jury.
(SS Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Yes Sirs "Dos Locos" LP
Experimental noise goofs. Lots of percussion based stuff, drum solo instrumentals with synthesizers and other noise making machines over top, sampling, fucking around with drum pads. Repetition. Drones. Loops. Whatever. Do a lot of people listen to stuff like this? Pretty ridiculous. Why do I review things like this? Because people send them to me. Red vinyl, nice screen-printed sleeves and some really cool fliers were included in the package. I'll tell you what, even though most of the "bands" in this genre/scene blow to my ears, they at least know how to make nice looking records. Art-schoolers should just stick to design work.(RK)
(CNP Records // www.cnprecords.com)

The Young "4 Songs" EP & "Get Out of My Face" 7"
Started as a one-man band by Hans in his downtime from Army of Jesus, the Young has fleshed out and become a four-piece, full-time band of its own. In the span of four demos and a couple of years, their songs, once solely Reatarded punk, have adopted more intricate punkpop overtones. These two four-song EPs, culled from that fourth demo, have plenty of melodic solos and nearly-sung vocals that it’s tempting to file them stylistically alongside fellow Texans the Marked Men, but then they hit you with “Nobody Cares,” totally a hardcore track but not out of place at all. So there’s a little more to the band than just the pop that’s creeping in, which is what makes these records stand out.(DH)
Austin, TX outfit I first heard of some time back via a tape sent to me (by the esteemable Mr. David Hyde) that I quite enjoyed. Vinyl seemed long overdue, as they play a nice mash-up of hardcore-punk and KBD-ish junk, guitar driven, sometimes melodic, sometimes full-on raging, really good sound overall. Throaty vox perfectly blend with the music, non-stop energy and interesting (and hooky) songwriting keep your attention. At times this sounds like the Reds at their punkest, but louder and snottier, with a Husker Du nod. Dark lyrical undertones float under the surface, but the tunes are so brisk they're never downers. Honestly well done, the kind of shit you hear a 7" of and immediatley think you could do with a whole LP worth of. I wanna say this is like Beat Beat Beat if they were a serious band and not a bunch of goofs. Great homestyle recording that sounds powerful and is mixed perfectly. Anyway I slice it, I like it. Ex-Army of Jesus, but don't let that scare ya off. Great collage work on the Crim IQ sleeve, all covers of the Super Secret 7" are handstamped, 100 are on white with some extra stuff on the sleeve. For people who like their punk without the weird. (RK)
(Criminal IQ // www.criminaliq.com)
(Super Secret Records // www.supersecretrecords.com)

Young Offenders “Small Man, Big House” EP
Well...it’s a step up from that Parts Unknown EP. Talk about gay! The only thing missing from that turd was the grandiose finale: sliding your cocks down the keys of Liberachi’s piano in a beautiful concluding serenade. Fuck. Thank the Lord I only had to sit through two cuts (side B’s even cumming to a head prematurely, maybe even faking the big O!) instead of said 7”er’s four. This single is a tad healthier. Way less my-jeans-are-so-tight pitched melodies and pansyish little anticlimactic chord progressions where petulant speed attempts compensating for getting softer and softer. They actually sound like forceful, galloping punk songs this time with good abrasive production, with the necessary evils of pop-punk glee. I guess life gives you lemons sometimes and some bands make enough lemonade to last a lifetime of prostate-tickling releases. Snazzy die-cut picture sleeve. For those of you who like this band, this is probably their best release. (BG)
(Deranged Records // www.derangedrecords.com)

Yussuf Jerusalem "A Heart Full of Sorrow" 12"
I'm assuming this is Benji from Creteens backed by a drum machine. It's probably the best record he's ever made. Instead of trying to out-Reatard The Reatards or out-stupid the Wax Museums, he's adopted yet another current trend, hiding behind a mask and a tape recorder, added some medieval imagery and come up with a pretty decent batch of songs. He jarringly starts with some black metal and then ends the 12" with a gentle acoustic number, covers Marianne Faithful, shakes out some neo-spaghetti-western vibes (the title cut and "The End of Tomorrow"), and goes weird-pop on "We Ain't Coming Back" and "Multicolor". He's quite a chameleon. I think this record definitely shows great progression on his part, there are even some original ideas here, and I don't fault him for delivering them under the auspices of anonymity. Not perfect, but definitely a step in the right direction for a kid who seems to have a ton of energy and ambition. Silk-screened sleeves, first 100 have black covers.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)




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