HOMEREVIEWSCONTACT LINKSARCHIVES FORUMS

RECORD REVIEWS 2011 (A to M)

Key: (RFA: Richard Fucking Adventure)(LB: Lance Boyle)(SB: Young Steve)(BG: Brandon Gaffney)(DH: Dave Hyde)(RK: Rich K.)(TO: Tm Onita)(RSF: Rob Vertigo) (A.: Alessandro) (ES: Eddie Schneider) (MH: Mike H.) (NG: Nick Goode)(EEK: Erick Elrick)

Charles Albright "Weight" 7"
Sacto solo garage weirdo releases his third single with Permanent Records footing the bill for the second time. I still want to see him and Matt K. Shrugg get into a fistfight. "Weight" is the A-Side, and the defining characteristic is the song's lack of percussion. It actually takes you a second to realize it, and then you're just waiting for the drums to kick in once you do recognize it, but they never show up. Just Chuck, a guitar riff and him yelling "WAAAAAYYYTTTT" and some other lyrical snippets every once in a while with a rather crackly delivery. B-Side is "I Am The Counter Culture (Drop Out)" which is basic 1-2 drum smash which he bends some guitar strings over rather well, but the vox are terrible on this - intentionally or not - and just not fun to listen to. Ehhhhhh.(RK)
(Permanent Records // www.permanentrecordschicago.com)

Ale Mania "A, Who Sings That Beat?" LP
Full length from these San Diego scenesters with ex-members of The Sess and Beaters. I can not lie, I liked some of the work on their 7" and this reprises their "hit" ("Robust Universe") and tacks on a handful of other sickeningly retro tracks. It's totally gross music that seems to be just pretentious sounding 80s dancefloor wave and Eurotrash for lack of a better description. Something I was born to hate, but am somehow enjoying. Synthy cloned grooves, the worst artificial drum sounds, heavily affected vocals, slick recording. I'm just dying to hate this, but I can't. Painful and shameless larceny of everyone from Simple Minds to Echo & The Bunnymen. They'd make a mean OMD cover band. Some sort of variation on the so-bad-it's-good theme, as they're very good at a "bad" genre. My conscience is telling me no, but I can't help myself. B-Side even gets a bit punky, in an uppity New Wave way. I can feel my Cosmic Psychos records looking at me with great disdain as we speak. I'll have to answer for this someday, I know. Sleeve collage is pretty cool looking as well.(RK)
(Volar Records // www.volarrecords.com)

Apache "Bloody Knuckles" 7"
I had real high hopes for these guys after their outtasite debut 7" and an above average debut LP, but the second LP was a step backwards, and man, that cover art...oof. "Bloody Knuckles" is the best song off of the 'Radical Sabattical' LP though, a real sharp rocker that straddles the line between hair-metal and glam very nicely with some absolutely wicked guitar soloing. It might actually have a slight NWOBHM kick to it, as it's leather-jacket tough and the squealing leads leave quite a metallic taste in your mouth. It's a fucking great A-Side for sure, and could capably slip into some proto-something vintage comp were it not for the modern-ish vox. Which makes it even more of a bummer that the B-Side is a turd called "On the Outside" which is wimpy snoozer that even some hot licks can't save. The same mid-tempo modern day hip(pie) glam-pop song you've heard bands of this ilk write a dozen times already. The best part is the extended guitar jam-outro. Scum stats: white vinyl, 500 copies(?), labels are reversed on our copy. Cover image is rather handsome.(RK)
(Savage Records // www.savagemagazine.com)

Apache Dropout s/t LP
Naming yourself after an Edgar Broughton Band mash-up is pretty bold, but these ex-John Wilkes Booze dudes are up to the challenge, strip-mining the best sounds of the Sixties/Seventies and coming up with some interesting results. They recall Modern Lovers ("I'm So Glad"), VU ("Teenager") and The Fugs ("Nothing In My Hand") right out of the gate, with a fuzzy psych-rock recording quality that sounds obscured by just the right amount of smoke. "It's A Nightmare" is the choicest nug here, a wild acid-garage cut with wailing vox and a superb hook. I don't think some people want to admit it (or just don't realize it), but "Sam Phillips Rising" could pass for a Fresh & Onlys track, as could a couple other tunes here. Just sayin'. "Sylvia" is a great Nugget of popsike, "White Out Man" is as savage as whiteboy blues can be, and "God Bless You Johan Kugelberg" is more than just a clever title, as it's a massive slice of maximum R&B with a ripping guitar lead and some neat soundbite action. This is what I always wanted those Tim Kerr-led Young Lions Conspiracy bands to sound like. 100% rock'n'roll with a vintage sounding haze throughout, I dig the whooping and hollering vox and solid guitar sounds that don't abuse the fuzz pedal too much. A few tracks are even fleshed out with horn arrangements provided by an ex-Dancing Cigarette, and the LP was mastered by Zero Boy Paul Mahern for added credentials. Members even have cool names like Sonny Blood and Lord Fyre. Well executed and a sure fire hit for the old dudes out there. (RK)
(Family Vineyard // www.family-vineyard.com)

Art Yard "The Law" 7"
More exceptional archival material from Ride the Snake, this time from Art Yard, post-Maps art-pop-rockers from early-Eighties Boston. These tracks originally appeared on a cassette comp from Propeller Records in 1981, with "The Law" being an obscure hit that garnered them some local/college radioplay/popularity, but as these things surely go, just as the band was picking up steam they broke up. "The Law", a song I'll cop to never having heard before, is quite an exciting find, a angsty-pop hit about depression that has a pounding backbeat and some post-punky nervousness to its hook. Reminds me of Suicide Commandos with some arty Mission of Burma touches. A song good enough to pay for on its own. "Something in Your Eyes" is a break-up tune with some more clever lyrics, the slower tempo allowing some time to focus on the angular guitar playing. Not as direct a hit as "The Law", but still satisfying and a bit more challenging even. You should shell out for this one, as it's a great "reissue" of a band that barely existed, but one you really should hear.(RK)
(Ride the Snake // www.ridethesnakerecords.com)

James Arthur's Manhunt "It's Working" 7"
The James Arthur's Manhunt LP was a record I wish people would have talked about more, including myself. Great record, great band, great dude. JA always seems to be standing just slightly in the shadows, out of the spotlight enough where you have to make an effort to see him. I think it's on purpose. But those who do choose to look outside the hype-sters and flavors-of-the-minute reap the rewards here, from a legendary player on the garage rock scene for many years. From Fireworks to Necessary Evils, to another greatly underappreciated band/record via A Feast of Snakes, to the OG line-up of Golden Boys and other peripheral acts from the Texas and Memphis scenes, the guy has an impeccable catalog behind him. Arthur is in full-on Texan Hawkwind mode here, wrapping one track around both sides in swirlingly psychedelic fashion: steady drum drive (from OBNIII, this guy is fucking everywhere!), quasi-dimensional guitar exploration, oscillating vocals. This was made for a freakout backed by a liquid light show and a tab or two. A meaty single that has me craving for another LP's worth of streched out blasters like this.(RK)
(In the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

Astronauts "Peter Pan Hits the Suburbs" LP
I'd not heard much, if any, of the Astronauts before this reissue, delivered with care by La Vida Es Un Mus, and originally released in 1981, which is a bit remarkable upon reflection. Looking back on it historically, it sounds quite a bit ahead of the curve. But then at other moments it sounds even older than '81. An exceptional record no matter how you date it, and the "psych-punk" tag affixed to most descriptions of it that I've read certainly rings true. Psych-punk in 1981 was a far different bird than what that phrase might conjure thoughts of today. The Astronauts psychedelica is pulled from that virulent UK strain embodied by the Hawkwind family of bands (and this record includes some Nik Turner sax appearances), Gong/Allen, the Twink/Pink Fairies axis and the unavoidable moments of Barrett-ian whimsy. This blends with moments of dark post-punk Fall-referencing DIY, brash proto-punk ballbusters that again recall Pink Fairies and that zany UK-only Anarcho-punk attitude. A crazed mix that allowed them allegiance to the Crass mob (and a deep friendship with Zounds), a dalliance with Fuck Off Records and kinship with the free festival rock monsters as well. All over the board. Hippe folk tunes live side-by-side with psychedelic journeys into the then still-warm corpse of first wave punk rock. "Everything Stops for Baby" is proto-space-jamming, "Protest Song" is epically Floyd-ian and prog-leaning, "Sod Us" is carnival organ piss-taking, "The Traveller" burns bright and punk like the finest Stiff products of the times, "How Green Was My Valley" is just sprawling and weird in a somewhat annoying fashion that only an Englishman could think up. And that's just one side of this LP, as they change their tack on each song, almost creating genres with each new track. Perhaps the oddest facet are the lyrics, which eschew the science-fiction/flight-of-fancy direction they could easily and expectedly have followed and instead deal with rather mundane stories of everyday living, working class struggles and tales of the ordinary that I'm sure helped endear them the Anarchos. When they get the sax involved, it makes for delicious stuff indeed. The keyboard songs get a little grating, but that's probably just me. Mark Astronaut himself is an oddball with his own legend, that particular cut of peculiar British gent who delivers most of his lyrics in a fittingly conversational tone. They mix so much together it seems like they would turn off whatever audience they could have had (too hippie for the punks, too punk for the hippies), but they instead manage to bridge them all together. A schizophrenic and engaging LP that sounds dated in only the best of ways. LVEUM has another reissue planned, containing their early singles recorded as Restricted Hours. Astronauts (or Mark with a rotating cast) continued on into the Nineties (and still play today from what I hear), but I can't imagine it's as good as this. But I'm going to find out based on the mindbend this thing gave me...Scum stats: 500 copies, 100 on green for weirdos.(RK)
(Le Vida Es Un Mus // www.lavidaesunmus.com)

The Audacity "Ears and Eyes" 7"
Lemmy Caution loves this band, which always makes me want to give them a chance, because he's a fella whose opinion I certainly respect, even if he is from London. Jokes. However, I can't say I've ever been as blown away by this band as he has been. Maybe it's a live thing. They're certainly serviceable henchmen in the Burger Records army, and they've had a track or two here and there. It's energetic and lightweight teenaged snot from California that borders on pop-punk at times, at other times attempts to reach Red Kross levels of adolescent glammified rock, and sometimes sounds like affable beach-punk. Obviously I can do without the pop-punk (which is what "Ears and Eyes" is no matter how you try and slice it) and enjoy them at their most aggro ("What Not To Do" is a song I'd put on if I wanted to convince someone to like this band). I just don't have time to sort wheat from so much chaff, and that's what you end up doing with Audacity records. So it goes. But if you absolutely love Burger Records like my friend Collin, then you'd be hard pressed to find a better example of their whimsical aesthetic.(RK)
(Volar Records // volarrecords.blogspot.com)

Baddat For Trubbel “Det Har Ar Inte New York” LP
Baddat For Trubbel s/t 7"
Where the fuck did this come from?! I blew off the "hype" (or at least Cardwell’s drooling banter) for a couple months, ignored the forum threads and even a new release update from Ken Rock. That was all a mistake. I am so, so sorry. I felt obligated to buy a copy sound unheard before all existing stock disappeared into the collector’s clutch mist. Sounded good. It took a few spins to really sink in. But now…Damn. Hooked. Soaked to the bone. This sucker is solid. Think Radio Birdman or The Testors pulling minute & a half songs from their hip pocket, and then peppering ‘em with a heavy dosage of 60’s beat or some 70’s pub dwelling meat and potatoes garage. Shit is skillfully crafted, chunky riffed and chock full o’ hog-thick chops. No frills (‘cept for one AMAZING outta’ nowhere saxophone solo) and as catchy as any punk rekkid should/could be. Not a clue of what these Swedes are talking about, but it’s sung with such stressed conviction…they definitely fucking mean it. This LP trots along at a breakneck pace, but it doesn’t feel short…it feels just right. Flip and repeat. I’m sitting here on the eve of The Rapture, so I gotta’ make this Ken Rock EP review quick (a lotta’ packing and fire retarding to do, ya’ know). You get more of the full length’s beefy R&R goodness, but with scrappier production values (different recording sessions methinks?) and a bit more 50’s grease and Chuck Berry riffing. Still, strong as strong can be. Snälla Snälla eats away at my cerebral cortex more and more with each spin. I think I’m starting to speak Swedish. I crave those little pancakes. Makes you almost forgive them for that awful psychobilly fascination they got over there. Bring these dudes to the states now. Wow.(RSF)
(Punks Only - Instigate Records // www.instigaterecords.com)
(Ken Rock Records // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Bad Noids "Gamma Toaster" 7"
The next wave of Clevo annihilation is upon us, and Bad Noids have been selected to lead the attack. Underaged and sloppy mid-tempo hardcore punk that of course is as equally ridiculous as it is rampaging in the time-honored Clevo tradition. Young Mike is one of the more entertaining frontmen you're gonna see out of the youth of today, chicken feet and all. This record is a bootleg of tracks from their demo CD-R, four songs of harmonica-punk and pissed off/on young adult anger. "Ticket To Mars" is a dead-end blazer, and it's cheap fun throughout. See them live at all costs before they get old and drunk(er). Scum stats: a hurtful 162 copies only.(RK)

Bad Vibrations "Under Pressure" 7"
Three-piece Halifax outfit dipping into various genres and coming out of the pool dripping with great results. Dark and moody and certainly punk rock at its core but with some alterna-rock turns (for lack of a better descriptor) that work out very very well and a definite scent of Eastern Canadian isolation and ranginess. Reminds me slightly of early Elevator demos when Rick White was still into punk rock or some Gaffney-ish Sebadoh rockers. Great and somewhat lower-fi recording, scrappy guitar sound, and some not-so-hidden hooks when you get down to it. "Pressure" certainly channels some punk rage, "Detach" has a grim determination. B-Side delves deeper into punk territory for the hard-hittingly succint "Pick It Up" and "Think About Life" closes in grand fashion with some tempo-shifts that border on hardcore and psych-rock in equal doses. Otherworldy vocals actually keep things grounded and lend solemn character to the music. A truly interesting EP that delivers musically and aesthetically without sounding too much like anything else happening these days. I guess they have a previous EP that I want to grip, like now. Scum stats: 300 copies with punch-out UK-style spindle-thing, almost OOP so act fast. Sewercide has always been one of those under-the-radar labels that emphasizes quality over quantity and this 7" is another fine example.(RK)
(Sewercide // slothcore-at-hotmail.com)

Bed Wettin' Bad Boys "Nobody Else" 7"
"Nobody Else" is the Australian version of power-pop, meaning they write a hooky tune, slow it down, slip in a gutsy and simple solo and sing the lyrics like a heartbroken drunk kid fresh off a bender and a bad break-up. Bleedingly honest and raw sounding rock music in the Westerberg mold, and the first time I feel where these guys are coming from. B-Side is a cover of Abel Label artists The Apartments, turning the gentle and twee original into a fittingly liqoured-up pisser. Heaps better than their first record. Everyone aside from the three guys in the band seems to understand how terrible their name is, which I suppose adds some dumb charm.(RK)
(RIP Society // ripsociety.blogspot.com)

Big Dick "Bodies" 7"
Ottawa bass/drums duo who name drop both Jesus Lizard and DFA1979 in their accompanying note. "Bodies" is regrettably not a Sex Pistols cover. I imagine these guys are playing to the Big Business/Melvins sort of major-label crowd. Technically proficient and well-recorded, but they're no godheadsilo or anything. Terrible artwork makes it appear to be a shitpunk record when combined with the name, which I have to admire their usage of, because it is such a bad idea. (RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/bigdiiiick)

Bitch Prefect "Marilyn Monroe" 7"
Two songer of pleasant guitar pop from this Adelaide three-piece who you initially want to say are lo-fi, but really it's just more like low-key, as this recording is pretty crisp. The arrangement is just so perfectly simple it's deceiving. "Marilyn Monroe" is gently hooky with sentimental guitar strum and vocal harmonizing and a wonderful wandering solo. Wistful pop with a drum heartbeat. Quite pleasing. "Holiday in America" is a jauntier version of the formula with an excited vocal and nostalgic summertime guitar pluck. Slap a "not punk" tag on this one, but that shouldn't stop if you if you're at all a fan of Flying Nun styled pop action.(RK)
(RIP Society // ripsocietyrecords.tumblr.com)

Black Orphan "Metal Leg" 7"
Latest release from this Spits "side project" that sounds a lot like...The Spits. Mongo voxxed synth-punk with an array of trashy guitar/keyboard sounds. "Metal Leg" rides a dumbed-down 1-2 punch and squiggly synth effect, adding the monotone of Spits vocal style #1. "Asteroids" features Spits vocal style #2 (underwater), buzzsaw riff and tin-can drum machine. "Doorways" opens Side B with another slight variation on the style, and closes with the instrumental "Slan", a Sacred Bonesy effort that reminds me of one of those A-Frames solo things...Rodent Plague, that's it. Slip any of the first three songs on the Wood Bros latest self-titled LP and no one would blink an eye. Formulaic, but done perfectly, and a must-have for Spits enthusiasts.(RK)
(Volar Records // volarrecords.blogspot.com)

Ben Blackwell "I Remember When All This Was Trees" LP
Solo outing from Dirtbombs drummer, journalist, Cass label CEO, cousin-of-Jack-White, Detroit apologist and all-around garage celebrity Benjamin Blackwell, a record which I'm sure many of you would like to take some jabs at. I don't think Ben was attempting anything here other than just simply seeing if he could pull off a record all by himself. That he makes it an ode to the city of Detroit and his experiences living there for a lifetime (so far) adds the requisite character and theme needed when you have spend an LP's worth of time with someone. It's not too pretentious or over-reaching, as he understands his limits (I'm sure he won't argue with you that drums are his best instrument) and he's certainly no four-track bedroom artiste of the variety that popped up like rats to follow the Blank Dogs' flute. He offers variations of Bo Diddley beat, techno-exxxstacy, acoustic folk, white semi-funk, white blues, white noise and simple rocknrolla, all local flavors with Detroit history to them. Each track is seeped in Motor City nostalgia, from boarded-up buildings and the Detroit River to local legends like Fr. Solanus Casey, The Nain Rouge, Corktown and other things you'll have to google. I believe I'm correct in understanding that this isn't his attempt at starting a solo career, but a one-off project by a music fanatic just for the sake of doing it. Obviously not a record that is going to set your world on fire, but it is something you might walk away from with a better understanding of Ben Blackwell as both an artist and person. Taken for what it is, it has some interesting moments and enjoyable loner vibes.(RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

Black Clouds "Pathetic" 7"
The most impressive thing about this 7" is that it was recorded by guitar god Wayne Rogers at Twisted Village HQ before it closed up shop. So it sounds fucking great, almost better than a garage record should at times. Black Clouds (who I recall from a previous 7" review, which also had a nice silkscreened sleeve if I remember right) play it straight, rave-up three-piece garage with primitive drum thump, a guitar player who can sling very well and a fittingly saucy whiskey-n-cigs voice. "5 Years Behind My Time" is the best of the bunch even if it does sound like a less personable Oblivians. Four songs that sound a lot like what In the Red and Estrus were releasing in the early Nineties without bringing anything new to the table. Save yer dollars for one of the other Ride the Snake singles...(RK)
(Ride the Snake // www.ridethesnakerecords.com)

Black Congress “Slums of Heaven" 7"
Black Congress “London’s Burning” 7”
Black Congress are a Houston TX rock unit made up of some former Fatal Flyin’ Guilloteens and who knows what else. What I do know is they bring some heavy punk, unafraid to grind out hypnotic riffs with all manner of keyboard/sample noise adding to the din. “Slums of Heaven” almost gets into Loop territory, a rainy day bass-heavy dirge. You’d probably be happy to know that “London’s Burning” is not a Clash cover, but maybe less pleased with it’s rather pedestrian ‘90s post-hardcore vibe. I think it’s the unnecessarily distorted vocals, but the song itself never communicates the rage it’s attempting to channel. “Davidians” is better, circular bass groove and random noises adding some depth to the proceedings. I just realized how much this sounds like Slug (esp. the vocals), but without the latter’s, shall we say, charm. With a little more focus, Black Congress could be a deadly force. I really dig the black-and-white photo aesthetic they’ve got going on with the sleeves of these two self-released singles. Rumor has it that AmRep is gearing up again, and maybe we’ll be hearing more from these guys via those guys. (EEK)
(self-released // blckcngrss.blogspot.com)

Black Humor “Love God, Love One Another” LP
There’s been a lot o’ press around these parts gushing of the greatness in this mess of hate and ha-ha-ha, so I’ll keep it brief and to the point. Black Humor’s 'Love God…' is the best nihilistic industrio-sludge punk record ever made by a queer, a Jew and a roller derby fanatic (and a few others). Period. You won’t find a better one. Stop looking. Even their pet parrot is pissed. Above and beyond any expectations I had. Happy as a plum to be holding this and I’m getting a celebratory drink-on as I type. 'Love God...' is a two sided coin and both of them sides are perfect. The heads up is all the real band studio songs, shitting on everything (yet darkly funny…go figure). Imagine if Flipper was really, really GREAT. Like if Bobby Sox’s Stickmen got into industrial strength metal whapping and a good use of gothic synths. Plodding and minimal and full of tension. This is what I had hoped the Nuns records would sound like after hearing “Suicide Child” for the first time. They didn’t. Bummer. Early Minimal Man comes close, possibly because of all that throbbing bass pulse. A less fruity Ubu? Sure. The vocals sound like Arto Lindsay if you could understand his mushmouth during those grand DNA years. Now flip it over. The tails down gives you tape collages, sloppy chants and odd-art-farts that’d fill a bill nicely with other Ralph-ians, Subterraneans and Club Footers of the era. Imagine The Fugs diving head first into some mean spirited chaos or if Debris worked with Throbbing Gristle on Zappa-esque jingles? It coulda/shoulda happened…so it could rule like this. A good thing this band stayed behind studio walls for most of its short-lived life…venue riots and van burnings probably woulda brought certain death to the SF punk scene. I guess this wasn’t so brief after all. Blame the vodka. Black Humor, “Love God, Love One Another”: half is evil, half is weirdly funny and you're $20 bucks short for booze or weed now that you ordered this. 500 copies exist in sharp-as-can-be numbered and stenciled sleeves, along with inserts. Sorry, no worms.(RSF)
(Superior Viaduct // www.superiorviaduct.com)

Blank Realm "Hey! Little Child" 7"
First in a series of NGL-curated jukebox singles (what we call one-sided 7"es in the States) that will feature chosen artists tackling cover songs selected by the label. Blank Realm have been a tough call for me thus far, their LP left me feeling like a man drowning in a sea of improv/noise with no life vest. The spectacular "Burgers In Our Midst" off the 'Wings Over Gabba' comp fell squarely in my wheelhouse however, a pleasantly Krauty drift in a contained one-track pool. This is probably the most trad-sounding this band is going to get, though they do go freewheelin' with the organ freak-outro. It's a fairly straight take on the Chilton-penned tune, and Blank Realm balance their more out tendencies well against the source material. While we can go on and on debating the merit of one-sided singles and the dollars-to-music ratio they present for those with a monthly record budget, lets just say this one succeeds as a concept.(RK)
(Negative Guest List // negativeguestlist.blogspot.com)

Bloodclot Faggots s/t EP
You know a band’s doing right when they capture enough bratty entitlement to sound like one of the Easter Monkeys’ kids started a band just to condescendingly make fun of his father’s riffs in the garage, as the opening proto-sapien stomp “Big In Adelaide” does. This US-shitbelt-worshipping Aussie outfit’s matured into quite the puberty-deformed little wreck & roll band, snagging mangled, ethereal impulse from the jaws of boring well-kempt mature-punk-punk. While their demo sounded like its recording apparatus was in the high hat, still capturing a Spike In Vain-esque drugz & art & factory work serpentine explosion, this 7” is much more listenable/realized in its aim, expending not one brain cell too many. Formaldehyde Junkies’ vocal stylings, H-100s’ lowbrow distrust of neatness, and, as I already stated in the demo review, an Out With A Bang status respect for the listener. What the fuck else do you need you smarmy seppo cunt? Perfect 2011 punk band. (BG)
(No Patience // www.nopatience.org)

Bloodloss "Lost My Head for Drink" LP
Originally recorded in 1996, 'Lost My Head...' sat on the shelf for years un-mixed after the band started to fade for various reasons. I'm sure these guys were pretty busy with other things in '96 and then just forgot about it or figured it was pointless years later when they remembered. I dunno, maybe it's some sort of "we lost the tapes and then the drummer found them in a shoebox when he moved out of his house" deal. Whatever the situation, the material deserved release, particularly since it is/was their last record. For the uninitiated, Bloodloss is basically Lubricated Goat minus Stu Spasm and plus Mark Arm, with the vocal duties split by all the members. The first two Bloodloss LPs actually didn't feature Arm, who came along sometime later after the band ended up in the US, and I tend to think most dorks prefer the pre-Arm sound and records. I have to say I do, but I still enjoy the band with him in the fold. I mean, who the fuck doesn't like Mark Arm? C'mon. The first line-up is an entirely different beast anyway, and the Arm-ed version succeeds on it's own merits (I could do without much of his organ playing though), and this version here is actually considered the third "era" of the band, but lets not split too many hairs here. This LP starts off incredibly strong, with the grim and tense "A Bottle And A Grin" putting them in a dark place which gets up-ended by the Arm-sung "Another One of You" which is the closest thing to an Aussie Hawkwind you'll hear, "Mystery Spot" is chuggy jazz-rock-skronk, "Chocolate Cake Factory Blues" reminds me a lot of the last Fungus Brains record (the one with the girls and the saxophones). That's a great four song run, and worth the cover charge right there. "Declination" closes the side with a moldy free-jazz rock out that has me thinking of Druid Perfume. "Hot Air Drives" kicks off Side B with a croaking Psychos-like smash, followed by the title cut which is Cave-like bat-psych. "My Friend the Moon" closes the side with a decent grunge rocker. In-between there are a few corny moments, in particular the saucier Tom Waits-like jazzbo spiels ("Bones of My Ass") and some bad wordplay/puns in a few of the lyrics (one that co-opts a Coke jingle, one about haircuts and another about Carmen Miranda), and if they just shaved four songs off of this it would be 100% fantastic. But even with the cheese included, there's eight/nine other cuts that rise above, and really, the opening four tracks are primo Aussie scree. It's no 'Human Skin Suit', but you shouldn't really expect it to be either. Scum stats: 1,000 copies with download and appealing artwork.(RK)
(Dirty Knobby // www.dirtyknobby.com)

Bloody Hammer "Apathy Is Bliss" EP
Another limb of the Houston, TX punk rock tree, this one featuring Josh Wolf of leather-punk overlords No Talk (and the underrated The Energy) with some co-conspirators. 11 songs on a seven-inch sounds like a bad idea, but this thing is a fucking RIPPER. Minute-long songs that are actually well developed and not just blasts of speed (which it does have). "Italian Punk" sounds exactly like (good) Italian punk, "Certain Death" is thrash-punk with the best "OOOOH YEAH" committed to wax in years (RIP MACHO MAN), and "Public Enemy" has a certain metallic majesty to it. B-Side has bangers-n-riffers like "God Bless America" and "Get Up And Go", the anthemic "Keep Running" and the riotous "Dead Erection". This takes the best facets of Livefastdie, The Spits, hardcore, No Talk, ultra-dumb Oi, maybe some Dwarves and Antiseen and turns it into what has to be the punkest record I've heard thus far in 2011. Stupid yet clever and just flat out fucking good. Better than Secret Prostitutes. Get it or be left holding a limp dick. 10 minutes, 11 songs, fuuuuuuck...Scum stats: I'm sure this is hurtfully limited, research gives me the number 250, and that's a pretty high quantity for some of the releases this crew has put out. You better start looking now...(RK)
(Cutthroat Records // myspace.com/cutthroatrecords)

Bloody Hammer “When In Rome” 7”
Offshoot of the Secret Prostitutes gettin punchy with short meaty blasts (a lot of them) o’ street punk/wrassle rock. Angry pit living gruffness for a new generation of disinfected youth and the old bearded couch-sitters. Home recorded one-man bedroom band with broken glass choked vocals that’ll satisfy the early Antiseen Fans or members of GG’s autumn years fan club. Smoke crack and worship Jesus…that kinda’ shit. 227 made? How queer…(RSF)
(Bat Shit Records // flyingrodentfecalmatter.blogspot.com)

Blowouts “Disposable” 7”
More UK glop flung into the review cage by Bat Shit, this time an offshoot of the Gaggers. Less speed than them but no less snotty. “Disposable” is more about glam swagger than topple and puke punk. Kinda feeling an import Clone Defects in it, a lot. 'Blood on Jupiter' seeps all over this, or out off it…or whatever. The other two cuts (“Your Hate” and “Animal Lover”) milk early GG and NY Dolls in that order. A damn fine 77’ style hard-on, shot fulla the right drugs. I’ll forgive them for wearing polka-dots…this time. And I thought Black Time was pretty much all I liked over there. Always room for a pleasant surprise. 300 pressed in fancy full color cardstock sleeves. 100 look like a fried egg yolk gone bad. Delicious.(RSF)
(Bat Shit Records // flyingrodentfecalmatter.blogspot.com)

Bob "The Things That You Do" 7"
Rerun Records continues their obscure punk reissue campaign with this loving repro of San Francisco's Bob, which originally made the rounds in 1980 (and the only reason I know about it was because of the A-Side's inclusion on the 'Brainkiller' comp). "Vibraphone punk" is certainly a fitting decription, and they use the instrument to its utmost quirkiness, giving their New Wave-style attack an original angle. Girl-guy vox, a bouncy and catchy stop/start rhythm. The herky-jerkness is heavily catchy and almost Devo-esque, but the lyrics are the real treat, chronicling the battle between a couple having a "You're so square..." type argument ("You wanna go to discos/I wanna go to cheap motels") that is humorous and certainly of its time. "Thomas Edision" is the back side, and rides nearly the same rhythm with a less prominent vibe and more guitar slop. The guy takes on the vocal duties here and it reminds me a bit of Elfman/Boingo weird-punk of the day. A-Side is certainly a second-tier classic, and for some reason I keep thinking of this sliding right onto 'Urgh! A Music War' when captured live and fitting in seamlessly. Originally released on Dumb Records (and the band released another single and LP as well), which was Bay Area weirdo Novak's label. Exceptional packaging from Rerun, with heavy cardstock sleeve repro, and a slick foldout insert featuring an interview with both the band and Novak and the tale of how the reissue came to be in a brief Break My Face reporting style, which is much appreciated. Scum stats: 500 copies.(RK)
(Rerun Records // rerunrecords.blogspot.com)

Boomgates "Layman's Terms" 7"
A smart man once referred to Boomgates as "Brendon Suppression doing Thee Oh Sees" after the release of their first 7", and it made sense at the time. On their second record, Boomgates make me think that comment was more funny than true on reflection. The band's indie-pop aspirations are strong here, as Brendon and Steph Hughes (ex-Dick Diver, one of the best named bands that I've never actually heard) continue their give-n-take vocals, and "Layman's Terms" is pretty-as-can-be pop that might bring to mind the Go-Betweens in its simplicity and feeling. "Nothing" on the flip is more stoic and direct guitar-strong work that some might prefer, and shouldn't turn off fans of ECSR in the slightest. 500 pieces.(RK)
(Smart Guy Records // www.smartguyrecords.com)

Brain Car “Rock + Roll Bologna” EP
I think Rochester’s been permeated by the same sort of collective inferiority complex that made leather and sado-masochism poison in a previously pristine well of Haight-Ashbury hand-holding when the perpetrators realized they were too quierd to partake. The same kind that made Detroit wanna trump DC and Boston to make public that they were in fact not L.A. The kind that turns a tiny little upstate New York metropolis into the best scene in the state. There’s something very special about said town, as it seems to be a beach rife with ashore-washed gems, yet insistent on the Gennessee running away with them, keeping for their solipsistic selves these exhibits as to the perfection of this glowing buckle upon the rustbelt. Luckily Brain Car wasn’t deadset on transience enough to let these minute long Germs/Necros "IQ 32" style pant-wetters be doomed to the annals of the double-edged ephemeral spirit of RockRoll, which certain Rochester personas lay claim to on behalf of their city. Well, it doesn’t sound like the ‘Car own Rock as much as they’ve owned the snottiest KBD cuts and most charming ’77-to-’83-interim platters from a very young age, with nitrous, bunk acid and paypal accounts to boot. Erudition without the accompanying jadedness. The EP opens with a backwards go at Black Flag’s first riff ever, transpiring at a hallucinated carnival, clean guitars and high school jazz band percussion. Haphazard Dangerhouse-style pick-up-punk that sounds that way because it’s legit in its ephemeral spirit. Every song, from “Suburbia Sux” to “Annihilate Baghdad,” is a surefire thorn in the paws of grouchy old PC bores who probably can’t wrap their heads around their scene of academic rhetoric about Kosovo and equal rights for chicks with dicks being taken over by little vigilantes spewing such high-brow lyricism about Starbucks-shopping tweens who’re “oblivious to all that’s wrong / they should learn to suck my dong.” As pure and unaffected as its classic reference points, with a production seemingly inflated with helium, drugs (read: baby laxative), and the air of their polluted river that’s wafted the soul of Mean Red Spiders into their bones. There’s just no other way to describe it, it’s the most uncontrived, purely p-u-n-k release I can remember spinning. And it comes with a piece of bologna glued to the cover. Can you dig it? (BG)
(Reel Time // 32 Engel Pl. Rochester, NY 14620)

Brain F≠ "So Dim" 7"
Brain F≠ "Restraining Order" 7"
Someone wrote a rambling MRR column expousing some theory where there is a current crop of youths who grew up listening to both Nineties hardcore and garage and are using both as guiding influences for new bands. Kids who who enjoyed say, 9 Shocks Terror and Teengenerate in equal doses, to just make a sweeping generalization that hopefully gets the point across. As an older gent, the garage-turkeys and coremen of my day didn't intermingle much, but these days things are much more wide open and it's becoming acceptable to get some peanut butter in the chocolate so to say. So, Brain F(lannel) are one of the bands that I think make a good case for this cross-pollination of sorts, coming from the fruitful Mid-Atlantic hardcore scene based around the Grave Mistake, Sorry State and No Way labels and their rosters, and these kids were in Logic Problem, Grids and other harder-core acts before gestating into Brain F. They've grown by leaps and bounds from their cassette demo into a pretty furious punk band, with all the hooks, chops and velocity you could ask for. Garage-core or something. Girl/guy vocal trade-offs, frantic guitar pacing, heavy and shadowy rhythm section. "Restraining Order" and "So Dim" are both spectacular A-Sides, one on Grave Mistake to show their local stripes, the other on the UK's Static Shock imprint, showing a kinship they share aesthetically with groups like Hygiene and Shitty Limits. Well constructed songs with agressive catchiness, exceptional drumming and just enough raw recording quality to keep it gritty. I'm excited for their LP to be released this year, as they're one of the fresher sounds I've heard of late, with a welcome lack of anything too trendy (reverb overkill, "psych", "folk"....) and an understated punk-rock-n-roll presence. The songs have substance without trying too hard to be flashy. I think they'd make for a good bill with Predator and Ralph. Southern punk tour 2011! Buy'em both and get in on the ground floor before they go huge. Scum stats: there's a red vinyl variant on the "So Dim" 7" (100 copies of 500 I imagine) and 150 red copies of the Static Shock release (out of 500 again) that is very nearly out of print, so get off your high horse and do some mouse clicking...(RK)
(Grave Mistake // www.gravemistakerecords.com)
(Static Shock // www.staticshockrecords.com)

Brain F≠ "Sleep Rough" LP
Brain Flannel just flat out refuse to let me down. They put themselves in a tough spot, releasing a couple hot shit singles and then leaving us waiting for an LP with hopes set high. And in a rare case, they actually delivered an LP that exceeded expectations. 10 tracks at 45rpm that honestly almost fly by too quickly. From the opening flurry of "V-2" to the pummelling closer of "No More/More" they rarely stop for breath, hurtling through songs with precise execution - the rhythm section just can't miss, shifting speeds and shouldering the weight of the guitar without losing any force. Perfectly played, perfectly recorded, loud and full - a band that doesn't need to mask anything with gallons of distortion or lo-fi static. That good. The most impressive thing to me was how well they've mastered the vocals - it's easy for girl vs. guy vox to sound mundane or cliche, but the interplay between these two sounds excitingly natural, which is even more impressive when you consider the racing tempos. Their delivery sounds effortless yet still punk, and Elise actually sings instead of yells a lot on this, which is a rarity for the punk genre in itself. And she does it well enough that I think it might be my favorite thing about this band right now - her tone and delivery has a strange magnetism to it, the perfect harmonious foil to the groove bursting velocity. Like the heroine keeping the beast at bay, she tempers the assault yet doesn't sound soft either. Ingenious. I've gone on already about how these guys are the mutant offspring of hardcore and garage-punk, and I think the rhythm section rumble is where you can hear the Teengenerate comparisons, the sharp turns mated to sharp hooks recall the finest of the Dangerhouse/LA punk bands and the furious pacing reflects classic Eighties hardcore. That they wedge hooks into these songs without any loss of speed is just crazy. Ten songs, and they're all my favorite. The future of punk is here, and I want more. Scum stats: not sure on the totals, but there were 227 copies on green for mailorder, plus a tour edition with alternate sleeve, so suck on that.(RK)
(Sorry State/Grave Mistake // www.gravemistakerecords.com/www.sorrystaterecords.com)

Brainwashed Youth "The Trilogy" EP
Cleveland's third best British band have returned from holiday and blessed us with this little 7" slab worth of anarchy and punk. Side A(narchy) contains the bangers, overflowing with the sickest of guitar/bass tones that can only be summoned from the deepest depths of Lakewood, a "Brainwashed Drum Solo" and Paul E. Wog's always on point vokills. Rousing anthems for your next pre-soccer match tailgate. Side B(ourgeousie) contains the mash, a lovely version of "English Cuntry Garden", the epic brainblower that is "No Sun Rise No Good No Tomorrow, OK?" and the absurdist reggae of...wait for it..."Brainwashed Reggay Song". Pass the dutchie. And the crack. Features guest shots from Alessandro Anarchy and Loser Larry of Folded Shirt for added pleasure. I'd say something about the art, but I believe it speaks for itself. Another essential piece of the Clev-O punk rock puzzle.(RK)
(Richie Records/Testostertunes // testostertunes.blogspot.com)

Brickwar "Warpath EP" 2X7"
King Louie's pre-Missing Monuments NOLA outfit with Paul from Die Rotzz/Kajun SS and Julian and Jerry who did service in Black Rose Band. Starts off strong with the dark punk of "Bonetrail" that has a deathly (metal) pall hanging over it and an evil keyboard break. "Silverado Sixpack" is genuine death-rock with a great Bankston hook and solo, sort of a marching cowboy/Western beat moving it and carrying suicidal vibes in the saddlebags. "Deviled Oyster" is a good tough-tonk number with the King hamming it up on the blues-y vox with slide and harmonica and another hellafied hook. The swampiest number here, I wouldn't mind walking into a bayou roadhouse and hearing this one on the juke. "Lonesome Shoes" has Louie doing more croonin' and croakin' on a mourning country-ish rocker dedicated to some departed friends. You'll get your money's worth out of this package, as I think these are the best songs I've heard out of Louie in a spell - at least better than the BRB and Missing Monuments singles and tougher than the Loose Diamonds stuff. Nice artwork too.(RK)
(Savage Records // www.savagemagazine.com)

Buck Gooter "Devil Worship" 7"
I reviewed a Gooter tape sometime last year and they liked what I had to say enough to send in this 7". "Devil Worship" is recorded live in some bar-n-grill in Harrisonburg, VA, which seems to be just a bunch of drunks screaming over a drum machine. Sounds like the fleeting 4:00am moments of a bad karaoke night. "Fife and Drum" finds them in a "studio" setting, with a drum machine set to earthquake and a little riffing and squealing back underneath an opressive vocal. "Echoes From A Lonely Tomb" is a Satanically reverbed hymn. Sort of along the same lines as the Junkpile Jimmy LP (whatever happened to that guy?), mixing up devil-metal and hillbilly styles.(RK)
(Flannel Gurl // www.buckgooter.tk)

Los Buddies "Moon Bars" 7"
Nondescript garage from Jackson, MS recorded in Memphis and played with stereotypically smoky Southern flavor. "Moon Bars" is slow-pop with trombone adding a twist of sorts. "RKO" is not about Randy Orton's finisher as far as I can tell, but ups the tempo for a more energetic pop style. This single might set a new record for amount of "whoas" and "oh-ohs" used over the course of two songs. In the style of Black & Whites, Preacher's Kids and other traditonally minded Southern garage-pop/sauce-rock bands. But without such good songs.(RK)
(Buddy Brand // losbuddies-at-gmail.com)

Burning Itch "Satisified" 7"
This doesn't exactly sound like the band who released the debut 7" a good portion of the Termbo record-buying public adored. Not better or worse necessarily, just different. "Satisfied" sounds like a pop-punk song buried under healthy amounts of guitar fuzz and a bass played through a blown amp. "Say It Again" sounds a bit more like the debut, with a weird Devil Dogs and Spits (vocals in particular) combination - sort of a mongo garage-grease monkey thing. Handclappy and hooky. I like that they're changing things up, but I also get the feeling that first 7" might have been a bit of a happy accident as well. Scum stats: one-sided, with gross dick-tuck sleeve, 300 copies with hand-written labels that must have been cramp-inducing.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)

Burning Itch "Me, Myself & I" 7"
Single-sider from the Itch, and I like this song better than either on the Goodbye Boozy slab, which isn't a slight to that record, just a note on the quality of this cut. This one has whatever it is that always made me think something about the debut single reminded me of a no-fi Wipers guitar drive. The vocals adopt a little bit of the basso-Spits style (without sounding too dumb), it's all recorded pretty clean, has a fantastic chorus/hook with a little surfy twang to it, cool drumming (high hat rider) and a neat little drop out towards the end. Might be their best song. One-sided one-song singles are of questionable merit, but this one does its job. The good thing is you lazy fucks never have to flip it over. Scum stats: 300(?) copies, stamped dust sleeve, Ratcharge art.(RK)
(Leather Bar Records // myspace.com/leatherbarrecords)

Butcher Cover s/t LP
The pinnacle of 2011 brutality, that's what we have right here. Butcher Cover will murder you. Extreme eardrum violation, taking only the most instinctually offensive aspects of the most punishing genres and patching them together into a corpse fucking monster. Sometimes they sound like a bandsaw cutting sides of beef, sometimes like one of those toothy war machines that eats asphalt when the city decides to re-pave your street, sometimes like King Ghidorah wasting a fishing village. Wrecking your face in all incarnations. Like a more offensive Rusted Shut perhaps. Or Siege covering Drunks with Guns. Or sticking your hand in a running lawnmower. They cover Shitlickers, which gives a good point of reference here, as this isn't one of those fancy boy outfits where it's some mysterious hardcore kids taking a holiday in the slums after listening to too many Brainbombs records. And I realize these guys probably don't look like the mutant family from the Hills Have Eyes either, even if they sound like they might. But I can imagine this guitar player had to bandage his hands after recording this, and the drum kit was reduced to shards of rubble the singer was rolling around in. Equal amounts of blunt force trauma and old knives sharpened to rusty points. I'm just glad these guys have an outlet for all these bad vibes. This record certainly makes a spectacle of itself. At points you think they might have gone too far over the edge. Scratch that, at points they do go too far over the edge. Ridiculously gnarly at all times, the recording is covered in lo-fi gore, they just ram bloody iron down your throat for a half hour or so. It's even better than their singles. The antithesis of Slumberland Records. And the funniest part is that I hear they're really nice guys. Scum stats: 245 copies with nice silk-screened sleeves and informative insert. Not for sale to pregnant women or pussies.(RK)
(Rotted Tooth // rsfvertigo-at-yahho.com to go direct to the source)

Campo Formio "Spooky Fools" 10"
Campo Formio is a self-described power trio from Puerto Rico. On the A-Side they're all technical and math-rocky sounding and they even play a little punk towards the end. It's interesting somehow, but not thaaat interesting. Just really sort of "what the fuck are these guys going for here?", as the hilarious manga troll/Power Rangers artwork also leaves you wondering. The B-Side is the mind blower, because they sound like Yes, if Rick Wakeman played a 64-bit Gameboy. I swear to god the guy is playing the exact same bass line as "Long Distance Runaround". Fucking bizarre.(RK)
(self-released // myspace.com/campoformio)

Capputtini’I Lingu s/t LP
Feeling of Love/Crash Normal folks deliver a rural Americana release while getting sloppy on their Italian porch (Or so I believe. Hard to find info on the inter-web other than through a MySpace page…and that fucker’s is set to crash every time I open it.) A good bit of gruff hollering and creak-blues stomp goin’ on in these European hills. Part of that weird cross collective (Triple Alliance) that also includes AH Kraken, The Anals etc…but this is the lighter side to the terrorism. Actually somewhat pretty. Is Billy Childish still running Hangman or does the Medway label still exists? They should call ‘em up…It fits the rosters. Country, folk and even some kinship to, say, the Mr. Airplane Man records. There’s a twinge of the Bad Seeds theatrical story book telling now and again, but it’s never too daunting o’ listen. Gotta’ say the frantic pounders like "Bite in the Neck Blues" jump from the pie with a maximum “fuck you” on the nail. They skewer a "Day Tripper" riff in a grande way during "American Dance" and it couldn’t please me more. "Wang Dang Doodle" ain’t spared ‘neither. I wish there was a bit more of this kinda’ ‘tude spread throughout, but what ya’ gunna' do? The other acts related have plenty of hostility to throw about, so can’t these folks be nice? If you got a hankering to order the Two Bit Dezparados LP or some other stuff direct, pick it on up… (RSF)
(Jeektune Records // myspace.com/jeetkunerecords)

Charlie and the Skunks "Take An Ice Cream Scoop Out of My Brain" 7"
You can always count on the Bloomington, IN scene to bring you some good-natured garage-pop spitballing, and this is a particularly goofy example. Playing up the Fifties good-time schlock-hop-n-roll. You know the story, proms in the gymnasium, ice cream socials and all that. Four scoops of organ-flavored candystore pop-punk-garage. Not as "raw" as yer Eric and the Romance Novels stuff nor as hooky. "Pay No Attention To Time" closes with the most mild-mannered garage rave-up you'll ever hear. For fans of poodle skirts, saddle shoes and stock garage-pop moves.(RK)
(Eradicator Records // eradicatorrecords.bigcartel.com)

Cheap Time "Another Time" 7"
Benjamin Blackwell is not kidding when he says the A-Side is a nice little Aussie-esque punker, as the guitar riff is straight offa '(I'm) Stranded' and it digs right into a groove, with nary a whiff of the fancy pants glam-ola Sparks schtick young Jeffrey has been slinging for the past few releases. It's quite refreshing really, and the punkest he's come off since the first Cheap Time single. This is what I always want this band to sound like, and as much as I've been intrigued by his efforts at doing different things, this just sounds so much more natural and energetic. Did I mention the great guitar solo? Well I just did. B-Side keeps up the momentum, a bit more on the pop side and leaning towards a Seventies glam tangent with the stylophone squiggle, but not in any sort of affected way. I think he's finding a good medium here betwixt his punk tendencies and his desire to experiment. I'll always be interested in hearing what Jeff's doing, because there will always be paydays like this single amongst his efforts. There are some other young artists out there who should be taking a page from Jeff's book. He keeps challenging himself and the listener, which is how it should go. Keep stepping forward instead of sideways, even if it doesn't always fully work. His journey from puking one man band to the artiste he is now has been a real treat to listen to vicariously and I look forward to future chapters. Scum stats: 500 pressed, nice B&W sleeve job with a Dirtbombs nod (No. 4 in the Cheap Time Singles Series) and a Sonic Assault logo. From the "Wallpaper Music" session, which I think we all need to hear more of...(RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

Cheater Slicks "Our Food Is Chaos" LP+7"
Hopefully just the tip of the Cheater Slicks reissue iceberg (there are also 'Don't Like You' and 'Forgive Thee' reissues supposedly in the works), "Our Food Is Chaos" commits to vinyl the Allen Paulino sessions, the earliest recorded work of the band, pre-dating the "On Your Kness"/Merle Allin years. 1989, Boston, with a member of the legendary Real Kids in the fold, the Shannons and young Dana Hatch belted these songs out, some of their toughest stuff ever. "Murder" is one of their definitive tunes that you can still hear in their set lists today. "Flashback" has been a favorite around these parts for many years, and having it here on vinyl for the first time fulfills a craving we've had for a long long time. "Golddigger" shows the band tripping young, hard and angry, "Dark Night" is the beginning of the black cloud forming above their heads. Their choice of covers is immaculate, particularly for 1989: Elevators, Larry & The Bluenotes, One Way Streets, Murphy & The Mob...all given a good mugging, pockets turned inside out and worn as if the band owned them. I think we all know how legendary this material is, and how necessary it is to own (even those stick-up-the-ass indie-rock pussies are now trying to fess up to liking Slicks way back when garage bands were just turds in the college radio punchbowl), so the real note for serious fans here is, yes, you need to own this even if you already have 'Skidmarks' on CD and/or vinyl. Just for the transfer from the original tapes if nothing else, not even considering the unreleased/first time on vinyl aspect of a couple of the tracks. Bonus 7" has the Bluenotes/Streets covers, making for a killer pairing. Get a copy or two, as you never know how long this stuff will be available. Reissue of the Year candidate. (RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)

Cheveu “1000” LP
Cheveu is a valuable asset of Termbrotherhood, filling the guilty pleasure niche without spilling too liberally into indie/tech-pop territory, while wagging its lil’ dick in just that direction, pollinating all the translucent-top rave bunnies whilst snorting the sideline they’re cutting party favors from. Making out with the drugs and the girlfriends of the guys who brought ‘em. Their last LP was quite endearing – a foray into digi-perversion with just enough garage audacity and paranoid songwriting to retain a good kick. There was something very right about that album. Its juxtaposition of blatant but infallible artificiality and bright, real guitar, doused in a beautiful French accent, capturing impulse at every turn. This one is a tad different. While the humor/personality is still there, it’s much more affected and premeditated. Granted there’s no conceits to the benjamins of the indie universe with which “Quattro Stagioni,” “Charlie Sheen,” “No Birds” and “Like a Deer In the Headlights” fit (this coulda’ easily been their breakthrough album, mind you), there’s a polish thoroughly rubbed all over this one, and after a few listens all that really resonates is the beautiful layers of stringed instruments and the utterly baffling rap digressions (an industrial interpretation of “Ice Ice Baby” and the very Kool Keith-sounding “Sensual Drug Abuse”). Their last longplayer was so raw that even the dollar-store lube they sexed it up with was fitting, but this time they went with a big ol’ glow-in-the-dark Magnum, hoping their uppers don’t render it useless. All in all, what we have here is an album of very difficult dance music, with the utmost appropriate cover art, conveying a French interpretation of the Latino bodega as an institution of urban Americana in the age of techno and digital-only garage singles.(BG)
(Kill Shaman // www.killshaman.com)

Circle Pit “Sewercide” 7"
“Sewercide” is a fucking ripper complete with pick scrape muted guitar and vocals that perfectly conjure the ghost of Hagerty and Herrema. Definitely one the most rocking songs in their discography so far. “R.W.T.P.” is a little more on the Glam side of things, but still a pretty decent B-Side to the awesome “Sewercide.” This single is really nothing like anything on “Bruise Constellation,” and the exploration of different sounds suit them well. In fact, I actually just heard their forthcoming “Slave” single, which surprisingly finds them drawing from the JAMC/MBV well. And honestly, it is really nice to see this band trying out different styles just to see what sticks. The reason they are able to pull it off is because there is a certain amount of earnestness in what it is that they do. Nothing that I’ve heard them do so far come off as disingenuous, even if there is a certain tongue in cheek quality to it. Kudos to Sweet Rot/R.I.P Society for giving us a wonderful post-'Bruise Constellation' single from these Aussies and hopefully it is a harbinger of greater things to come.(ES)
(Sweet Rot // myspace.com/sweetrotrecords)
(RIP Society // ripsociety.blogspot.com)

Circle X untitled 12”
Praise be to the holy god of Nihilism that this monumental slab of No Wave/proto-noise rock is finally once again available in the preferred format, 12” vinyl. Originally released in France back in 1979 on Not a Label, reissued on CD in 1996 via Dave Grubbs’ short-lived Dexter’s Cigar imprint, and now, once again, courtesy of Insolito, this 4 song masterpiece is out there roaming the dirty streets looking for kicks, and maybe to get kicked. It’s truly remarkable how contemporary this sounds, yet it is so utterly of-its-time. An additional paradox is how absolutely filthy ‘70s New York it comes across, yet it was written and recorded in France. Opening with the closest they get to a traditional rock song, “Tender” has a guitar line that predicts The Pixies ten years early, punctuated by perfectly-placed feedback breaks. Tony Pinotti’s anguished vocals complement the gradually-disintegrating track with maniacal shrieks to “Bow to me!” “Albeit Living” begins with layered voices reciting a brief poem then dives head-first into an abyss of near-hardcore velocities and eviscerated guitar entrails. “Onward Christian Soldier” is a dirge that plows endlessly forward, an awful invitation to a pointless slaughter; almost like a Black Sabbath song cut adrift from blues and groove, a post-“War Pigs” trudge towards annihilation. “Underworld” starts off prefiguring the violent hardcore poetry of Antioch Arrow and interrupts with mournful breaks before savagely ending just as you are getting a handle on the cacophony presented to you. It is a breathless listen, and it is highly recommended.(EEK)
(Insolito // www.insolitorecords.com)

Coitus Int. "Dead Excitement" EP
Exciting reissue 7" that magically appeared in my mailbox. A-Side contains two hits from these Dutchmen, who are really post-punk if you want to get categorical about it. The Ubu-like "I Shouldn't Go" is rhythmic majesty that I fondly remember from the Killed By Epitaph comp and "Run to the Station" is scrappy Nederpunk which I recognized, but actually had to do research to find out where from (the 'Feel Lucky Skunk?' LP, for those who care). B-Side has three additonal deep cuts, more of the slightly post-leaning style, and it's choice stuff. "Trap Questions" has a dry spoken word vocal over a building tempo, "Dry Up Soon" is dark bass-driven paranoid punk and "On the Escalator" is their angriest bit. Clever English language lyrics throughout. According to the liners, Coitus Int. began as your typical drunk punk rock outfit, but once they realized there were 30 other bands in Utrecht doing the same thing they continued down the slower and heavier path they showed signs of on this single. They did three more records after this, which I plan on (soul)seeking out after hearing this. Well done package, an exact repro from what they tell me, with some bonus inserts/photos and liner notes. A+ shit, very very recommended.(RK)
(Bunkerpop // bunkerpop.com)

Cola Freaks "Farvel..." 7"
Danish ADD sufferers the Cola Freaks at the plate again with one original and one cover. "Farvel" twitches and shakes with a Devo-like hook this time out, driven by a bass/keyboard doubled rhythm that alternates desperation and playfulness. A fine example of their Euro-punk moves. The do up The Avengers' "Car Crash" on the flip in a tight and unemotional run-through. They have their shit down tight, I'll give them that, and if you dig the wavier bands of the K-Town variety, this is all you. Scum stats: 600 pressed.(RK)
(Local Cross // www.localcross.com)

Cola Freaks "Live WMBR 88.1" LP
Live on the radio LP from these Danish stormtroopers who seem to be touring America more often than not. They got a big rub from Jay Reatard when he had them as his backing band for his Euro tour after he fired his then-current band, if I remember correctly. So that at least means they can play fast enough to not piss Jay off. They've released a handful of singles, none of which blew me away, and an LP I haven't heard, but despite my lack of interest they seem to be liked well enough by people within the current scene to get on more than a few fest bills and have their LP released domestically by Douchemaster. This here performance is tight-n-shiny, full of herk-und-jerk moves that blend New Wave and post-punk in a particularly European fashion. Lots of dark yet anthemic hooks and breakneck direction changes. "Dodt Batteri" is their hit, containing a good blend of drive-n-pummel and having a real sharp and frantic guitar hook. These guys have some good moves and I'll forgive the synth because the guitar sounds nice and slashy. The guy can play. They're totally dialed-in for this nine song set, and I see no reason why you wouldn't completely enjoy this if you're already a fan, meaning you own a lot of stuff on Dirtnap and need something with a little more teeth. The top notch artwork should seal the deal. I've seen them live twice, and they are pretty riveting, even if I never feel the need to put on their records. So that might mean this is their best slab, if you do some weird math...(RK)
(Mastermind Records // mastermindrec.com)

Condominium “Warm Home” LP
The first long player for the MN kings of modern hardcore, noise rock and uniformly sharp looking singles. Clocking in at a sparse 20 minutes, 'Warm Home' feels a lot like a buddy-up companion piece to last years 'Cruising'. I’m not saying that the Condos and Slices are exact replicas of one another, no sir. It’s more like they’re out batting for the same team. Punishing riff monsters that blend the AmRep, late Flag punk and ‘core into a heady brew of thug-chug. There even seems to be a strand of black metal threading the rhythm section together that’ll give those wimps over at Youth Attack something to cling to. Barked, gruff and blown out (yet coherent) vocals that sound in step with most 80’s East coast street punk and hXc tuffys, but less cocksure and gasping for breath through a nervous Midwest tweak. Oh yeah, and I’m still sticking to my earlier Hammerhead comparisons. Deal with it. After a few amped up violent assaults the weirdness starts to set in, and not a weirdness like '...Weeding Out' (that happens too)…but real weirdness. Like 20th Century avant-classical weird. There’s a piece structured around bowed instruments and glass kitchen utensils tucked in here. Harry Partch would be so proud. How do they pull out of it? That’s a surprise you’ll have to experience on yr own (and no, the side doesn’t just end). It continues to beat you about the lobes for another 10 minutes of solid, hard and fast despair…until the Oxycontin numbs all and leaves the band slogging about in free-form syrup that it has to claw its way out of. That was a mouthful. I personally wish it’d go a smidge longer, but if more of them classy hand stamped singles are about to flood the market, I’ll totally accept whatever they give me. More great stuff. Fewer than 750 copies pressed. Shipped in armor. (RSF)
(Condominium Records // www.condominium-hellotomorrow.blogspot.com)

Cop City/Chill Pillars "Held Hostage on Planet Chill" LP
I thought this was a split LP when seeing it listed on the FD site, but apparently the band just has a split-looking name or I'm really missing something here. They're from Lake Worth, which is up the road a bit from Ft. Lauderdale, but this is no spring break wet t-shirt party punk. The recent band they really remind of is TV Ghost, with perhaps some of the Southern fried weirdness of those kids in Hibachi Stranglers or Amber Alerts, but without so much of the drooling snot-punk attitude. Cold vibes, shadowy reverbed vox from under the sea, submarine bass tones, sharp and dark guitar that sounds a little bit weird-surf. Lots of dirge-tempoed creepers, "The Greatest Man That Has Ever Lived" stands out while opening side two with some ritualistic-sounding throbbbb. "Look Around" is sort of a dum-dum punker that hints at something a bit more wicked than your typical no-brainz jammers. "Jennifer"s uber-rhythmic vocal cadence and bass/drum lock-thump is rapturously hypnotic. "Stuff Happens" sounds like a poltergeist, "Egyptians" is the soundtrack for a human sacrifice. I got far more out of this record than I was expecting to, don't let the name put you off, as I probably would have if Rich wasn't good enough to send us a review copy. It's not as honed as the 'Ghost at this point, but it's weird-punk that has an engaging "sound" (which they certainly go to the well with more than a few times) that works out over the long haul. This probably gets over better on the longer format than it would have on a single and you should definitely let it spin for a few songs to get in their groove. Recommended for those who want to hear alien-caveman weirdo-punk done well. Scum stats: 500 copies, first 75 on green.(RK)
(Floridas Dying // www.floridasdying.com)

Cop Warmth "Die Slow" 7"
Larry Hardy reaches for another unknown quantity with this latest triple-threat singles pack. Cop Warmth are punk-noise from Houston (who don't have Josh Wolf or any overt connection to the No Talk/Secret Prostitutes dudes that I can tell) and they remind me more than a bit of my beloved Tractor Sex Fatality, with more of a directly lysergic Buttholes/Tex-ass approach perhaps. I'm sure they've heard a few Rusted Shut records as well, but don't go nearly as deep into the darkness as those guys. Great song titles abound: "Constantly Pregnant", "Drugs Over Food", and even "Positive Vibe"! Gnarly vox, bass heavy sound, busy drumming, squiggly guitar work that oftens fades to the backseat for some reason. Reeks of potential, but I'm not 100% sold on the execution. Yes, I do bet they're at least entertaining live. "Die Slow//Constantly Pregnant" is the winner if I had to pick, sounds like Butcher Cover or one of the other Rotted Tooth bands.(RK)
Dee-ranged Texas noise. Bass powered and heavy on the art wave of NO. Abrasive blasts you’d expect from some label like Rotted Tooth or Dull Knife. It’s bordering on fucker-doodled spazzcore, power noise or even the industrial turf. Cop Warmth veers off in Condominium or Men kinda’ punk as this EP slogs on, but with a slippery as a snake skulldrill guitar buzz that’s all its own. Whoah. Harsh stuff, kids. Wring out yr wrecked meats. This thuggish angry mulch could be the most abrasive piece of the In The Red pie after the first Hospitals platter…or since Larry released the (A.H.) Kraken. Get it or die trying.(RSF)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Coprolitos s/t 2x7"
Outstanding packaging effort here on Coprolitos' third release, a sweet little gatefold job with always appreciated occult imagery. On their previous singles they had a real Tyrades-en-espanol thing going on, and the danger-punk elements are intact, enhanced with a good dose of Cali-style goth-punk. Eight songs over the four sides, "El Alta" is the punk "hit", "El Brazo..." has some hooky beach-punk flair, "Las Jeringuillas No Se Comparten" ("Don't Share Syringes"?) actually sounds a bit like the Big Boys with a slightly funky rhythm and Kerr-like guitar slash. Musically, this band is pretty freaking good, I guess your enjoyment will depend on whether or not you can hang with all Spanish lyrics. The senorita on vox has come into her own on this one, dialing back any of the shrill tendencies she had on the earlier records and really sounding relaxed and assertive here. I'm not a big fan of Spanish punk, but as I said this is well-crafted musically and comes in a fantastic package. A bit trite, but kids and foreign MRR subscribers should dig. Limited to 264 copies.(RK)
(Blondes Must Die Records // www.blondesmustdierecords.com)

Thee Cormans "Halloween Record w/Sound Effects" LP
A surf record released in 2011 might seem to be a questionable idea, but leave it to In the Red to make it work, and just in time for Halloween. I have no idea who Thee Cormans are - they hide behind masks and names like Fagenstein and Shaved Ape - but they've made an LP of nasty surf-n-fuzz that sounds like the Necessary Evils covering Man or Astroman. Absolutely raunchy fuzz guitar, scratchy recording quality, heaps of sound effects and skits. Some of the more lo-fi numbers recall the Drags offbeat instrumental numbers, other tracks sound like a one part Mummies one part Beguiled mixer. It sounds shit-tastic, the surf numbers absolutely rip and the fuzz tracks summon some unbelievably crackling and staticky sounds. Even the bass throbs with extra menace on these cuts. "Spider & The Fly" sure does sound a lot like something off a Haunted George record....hmmmmm...So, if you can be a big boy and let your guard down for a minute to listen to a modern surf record, you can enjoy the hell out of this for the fall season. It's novelty schtick done up-front and incredibly well, all the way down to the artwork, liner notes, huge fold-out poster and glow-in-the dark vinyl. I'm impressed and entertained by the tasteless humor in a Cracked magazine sort of way. Hipsters beware, you are far too cool to like this record - leave it for us garage dorks to enjoy...(RK)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Thee Cormans "Down Mit Der Fuzz" 7"
Every punk rocker loves a good anti-cop track, and apparently all garage turkeys do as well. Extended biker/JD soundbite intro leads to zero-fi treble-fuzz antics with wicked guitar and an exceptionally shitty drum sound that I dig. "Emergency!" is a vintage trash-surf burner for smashing boards on whitecaps and waiting for the ambulance to reach the beach. Reverb heaven. Not as deadly as some of the best LP cuts, but if you can't get enough, here we are.(RK)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Cosmonauts s/t LP
Paint-by-numbers psych created by a group of Orange County teenagers. Originally released on cassette by Burger (which explains the cover art), this record has a few bright spots amongst a lot of filler. They can do an effective reverb-caked rock jam in the modern style, but just don't invest them with much as far as personality or actual hooky songwriting. It's one of those records that sounds pretty good overall, but taken as anything other than background listening, well, you see all the holes. I always like to temper reviews like this by saying this is pretty good for a bunch of kids (I think they're all under the drinking age), and it is just that. They seem to be aware of Spacemen 3, which is a good sign, and they don't play strictly in a Black Lips aping style, even if they do slip into it on occassion. Lyrics and vox could use some work, they have the "sound" right, now they just need to do something original with it... Best track: "Yer So Rad", which sounds like Ty Segall on downers. Worst track: "Stephanie", because it's my wife's name and I would be embarrassed to play this one for her. Scum stats: 500 copies, 150 of them on pastel yellow.(RK)
(Permanent Records // www.permanentrecordschicago.com)

Cosmonauts "He Never Hit Me" 7"
These kids sound a bit more palatable on the shorter format, or at least there isn't as much time to think about what might be missing. Title cut cruises at mid-speed with force and a little bit of agility, cutting through water like a heavy freighter, the guitars create dual propulsive drones that circle in on themselves and go a little higher for the breakdown/solo portion. Effectively fuzzed out without sounding West Coast neo-hippie or overly garagey - honestly, it reminds me of something like Spacemen 3 as handled by Brimstone Howl - sort of an earnest modern psych tune a la People's Temple even. B-Side is a "Little Honda" cover that could have been done better by The Moonhearts, but confirms my Brimstone Howl reference earlier...A-Side is a good song, and will make a better intro to the band than the LP. Scum stats: 300 copies/3 labels/e sleeves.(RK)
(Goodbye Boozy // myspace.com/goodbyeboozyrecords)

The Creamers "Modern Day" 7"
No relation to the old LA band with a half-dozen releases on SFTRI. These kids are better. Even if the old Creamers had a Lazy Cowgirls connection. Brutally dumb 1-2-3-4 punk rock, on the A-Side they do a couple numbers where they just bite down hard on a basic riff and curbstomp it while the guy sings along hoarsely. Effective and charmingly stupid, "Can and Will" shows some real moronic songwriting "skill". I went back for repeat servings. B-Side shows a little more chops on three faster jammers, all balls with some KBD attitude on "Cremation" in particular. Pretty damn good for an Austin band! ZING. But seriously folks. This single is another piece of evidence that punk is making a comeback. Recorded by young jedi master OBNIII himself. Scum stats: 500 copies, white wax.(RK)
(Jolly Dream Records // jollydreamrecords.blogspot.com)

Criaturas “Arañas en el Corazon” 7”
Scathing, giant-sounding punk with very frequent (and wild) guitar leads. Their tape was fantastic (and this has two songs from it), but it seems that since then, someone got the idea to make all the shreddy lead guitars sound exactly like Zigyaku from Bastard - a strike of genius. Mean and perfect vocalizing in spanish from a girl that’s in the exact range it needs to be… reminds me a lot of Chitose from the Comes. They clearly love Japanese stuff (and Reagan Youth, hello riff that starts off side B). Recorded very loud, well, and of “modern” fidelity by Han(s/z) of the Young/Women in Prison, and they got songs! Awesome debut, the choice selection (by miles) of the new round of Lengua Armada releases, and it never even hints that one of their ranks is kept alive by antagonizing weirdos on the Terminal Boredom internet caucus.(NG)
(Lengua Armada // martincrudo-at-yahoo.com)

The Croissants "Braindead Airhead" 7"
Title cut really jumps out at you, it's a bit on the pop-punk side of the fence (and includes the spelling words out lyrical trick that is an absolute no-no...) but the bass sound is rather unruly and the song is fast enough that it had me listening intently enough to hope for the best. "I Don't" has more of the speed and tough guitar/bass riff - but it's fucking pop-punk at it's core. Maybe a tougher sounding Clorox Girls. Two more of the same on the B-Side, and the last song just heads right for Mutant Pop land. What's wrong with pop-punk, you ask? Ugh....(RK)
(Sacramento Records // charlesalbright-at-gmail.com)

D.Watusi "Summer Nights" 7"
Sixties feel-good garage-pop, "Summer Nights" is a crooner that's just barely a slow dance number and sounds authentically Fonzie-fied. B-Side amps it up a bit more, with a cover of The Monks "I Hate You" that isn't so bad, even if they didn't really need to go there. "Weekend Delinquent" has some jay-dee punk grease to it. Very middle-of-the-road stuff here...played well and didn't having me tapping fingers waiting for it to be over, but didn't have me tapping a foot along to it either. Meh. Is D.Watusi a person or just a bad band name? 300 copies.(RK)
(Nashville's Dead // www.nashvillesdead.com)

D.Watusi "Slave Walls" 7"
Another one from the terribly named Nashville band. "Slave Walls" is a garage rave-up instrumental that incorporates sitar. Far out, dudes. Strange pick for an A-Side. Flipside is "Lilly's Lament", a Fifties-inspired slow dance number that is also vocal-free. Huh. Not too much happening here other than some whiffs of nostalgia executed rather mundanely.(RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

Dads “Hat Creek” 7”
"Hat Creek" is slop that jangles away in indifference, droning lazy-hazed vocals and easily riffed pop. Not bad, but nothing to…oh shit. It’s over already?! Oh well. "Banana Twins" comes on all dumbtwat abrasive, with its treated vocals slithering thru the bass lines of various spasmo Load Records offerings. Again, over and done within mere moments. "Sex Theft" continues in crap rock spastic-ness, but pairs it up with some of the opener’s twee-strum to make it the highlight of the platter. The singer’s off hollering like that goon from Arab On Radar. End scene. I think that took all of three minutes. The flipside, well…the flip is a dub (dud) version of the title track…and that can’t be good. If reggae is all love and good vibes, why does it fill me with the urge to curb dudes faces? Otherwise: cough syrup slack-punk extremus. (RSF)
(Katorga Works // www.katorgaworks.bigcartel.com)

Daylight Robbery “Through the Confusion” LP
On first impression, I really wanted to knee-jerk and hate on this, but since then I’ve gotten past my silly prejudices and caved to some of its subtle charms. Everyone who’s anyone everywhere else (or at least over at the MRR offices) says this is the bees-knees: People screaming about the second (third?) coming of LA’s X, recalling of early Dangerhouse singles paired up with UK D.I.Y. Well, ok then. It’s moody, mid-tempo R&R with co-ed vocals, tight production, and a clean guitar tone. Way too jagged though to push the Billy Zoom reference to the forefront, but the lyrical delivery does hit a John/Exene stride now and again (including some serious 'Los Angeles'-era aping at points). Tracks are thought out, well written and played with conviction - yet it wears me down after while as songs stylistically meld together in a certain sameness. That said, there are still definite highlights ringing in my ears: The balladry of "Predicting the Weather" (which gets a good sway goin’), "Rerun" (with its nod to the Wipers), "Ignominious Defeat" (a solid tub thumper that includes some of those mentioned X swipes) and "Legacy" (it almost feels like a Toody fronted Dead Moon track). The more I sink my teeth into this platter, the more I think it tastes of similar throwback acts (The Observers, Starvations, etc.) and how the folks who get panty-pinched over Gorilla Angreb, Masshysteri and the like are gonna’ (continue to) lap this up. A hot ticket for a Gilman PUNX rally. Me? I find it…alright. Not too shabby. I just wish there was more diversity to the sounds involved. I’m sure that seems funny coming from a jag-off like me, who listens to rhythm & noise bands damn near exclusively (and those bands are probably as varied and interchangeable as a pair of Hanes sweats socks), but hey…whatev. If yer (we’re) desperate, young and bored…this band could be yer life. (RSF)
(Residue Records // www.residue-records.com)

Dead Farmers "Out the Door" 7"
New 7" action from Oz's Dead Farmers, who released one of my favorite LPs of last year. Their debut 7" is also a corker if any of you forgot about that, but good luck finding one. The exciting thing about these guys is their harnessing of guitar power and ability to sling fuzz-waaaah action with just the right amount of overkill and ferocity. A real working man's outfit, rock'n'roll for late nights that turn to early mornings. Beer and weed music. Which is why I was a bit let down by the A-Side of this one, which is kind of just an average rock song, kinder-n-gentler in approach than the amps-be-damned attitude of the ragers on the LP. They shouldn't be concerning themselves with things like hooks. Just stomp on those pedals, dudes. B-Side picks things up to an intensity more to my liking, as they smash their way through "Never Enough" with some confidence, hot licks and extra drum smash on the gang chorus and an almost ECSR-like interlude/bridge. And speaking of the Ring, Mikey Young mixed and mastered this one. Worth a pick-up for the B-Side if you're a fan of their catalog to date. I just hope their next record delves further into heaviness and less into the Eddy Current-esque "nice guy" vibe I felt that I heard creeping in on this one. Definitely do not miss them on their US Tour though!(RK)
(RIP Society // ripsocietyrecords.tumblr.com)

Dead Ghosts s/t LP
It's a perhaps unfair yet undeniably true fact that a good portion of today's garage bands are beholden to the Black Lips legacy and must be compared to them in retrospect. The Black Lips were simply that good and that influential. They changed the game. Spawned poor imitations and gave inspiration to worthy heirs. No one's going to listen to this debut LP by Vancouver's Dead Ghosts and think these kids had never heard 'Let It Bloom'. And there's nothing wrong with that. And there's also something to be said for the under-rated influence of Montreal's Demon's Claws as well, a band who might not have moved the earth as forcefully as those kids from Atlanta, but who did their own share of alteration to the modern face of garage-rock. It's easily geographic to say Dead Ghosts pull from the Claws' repertoire moreso than the Lips, and the country-tonk hay a good half-dozen of these cuts stomp around in is musical proof, sure. But they also lack the darkly psychedelic potency that made the Claws' dangerous. So we get back to the Lips, where the Ghosts certainly pull the nostalgically reverbed guitar pluck and Back-from-the-Crypt vocal style from. What's the Dead Ghosts' angle? How do they own it? Well, I think they invest their continuation of the strain with a more wholesome Fifties aesthetic, a slight bit of the ramma-lamma, a Fats Domino cover, the Rat Pack/Dion & The Belmonts matching suit guy-group vibe. There's little of the drug-induced sleaze or drunken sloppiness that was the endearing part of the Lipsian schtick. The weirdest they get is the toy-piano ghost-town vibe of "Dead Ghosts", as apt sounding a theme for the band as I could imagine. Playful stuff like "How The West Was Won" paints them in an altogether nicer (for lack of a better word) light than their forefathers. As much as the Lips/Claws may have iconized the wildman Sixties, the Ghosts take it back even further, when getting wild was a rumble in the park, and greasing your hair back and catching up to Cherry Hill at the drive-in was more important than fucking shit up. The Wanderers switchblade comb to the Lips' jagged blade. And perhaps the spectre of the other most influential garage-act of the decade, King Khan & BBQ and their American Bandstand doo-doo-wop style is there nodding in the background. What does this review really say? It's a good record, sometimes we're left to simply watch music evolve in front of us, in a backwards retro way here, a continuation of garage rock that we can date back as far as we'd like. Good, clean fun. The only thing bumming me out about this is the Southwestern-motif Vivian Girls artwork. And I should add that "I Want Your Love" is as good a choice as any song to make a move on your girl to as another date-dance comes to a close.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)

Dead Neanderthals s/t 7”
Holy gutsfuck. What the hell is goin’ on? This is some mangled shit here. There’s no reason why this should rule as hard as it does, especially when you see it written out on paper: a Netherlands duo of drums and baritone sax. Only. That’s it. All instrumental. But played like some sorta’ Napalm Death cum Piranhas scum love affair. Not too jazzy, not too grindcore-y and no less punk than Pepper Adams on a bad day. Tain’t spoilt like some jag-off John Zorn noodle fest neither, this sounds natural. Primal. Strip to yr loincloth and go thwack some shit. Short bursts of blast beat, tub thumping and free art. Eleven songs in half as many minutes. Fully realized and surely making Weasel Walter envious as I type. I hate music. You should too.(RSF)
(Bat Shit Records // flyingrodentfecalmatter.blogspot.com)

Deaf Wish "Mercy" LP
The second LP from Deaf Wish (and what you might call their third full length if you count that early CD that was making the rounds as a demo or sampler or whatever - and which they are pressing to vinyl as we speak) finds a female voice appearing that was absent from 'Reality and Visions' (but was heard on the just-mentioned CD) making for quite a different band dynamic. She (Sarah Hardiman) splits or shares vox with the fella(s) adding an additional facet to the sound of the previous LP that people seemed to dig enough to allow the band to head to the States for a tour. The 90's alt-noise vibe is still the running constant, and the Sonic Youth soundscaping and gentle but noisy guitars (that you know may just erupt at any second) create a bit of tension they stretch out and obscure with the gentler feminine vocal presence. There are more atmospheric moments on this one, but still with tuff gnarl art-punk jammers in between where some throaty male vox become the lead voice. "The Line Between Us" is one of the more emotionally taut songs of the year and executed with precision and sharp sentiment. The rest of Side A flirts with art more than rock, and then they go and open Side B sounding like X for a couple tracks. The Australian X, dumbass. Then they go quiet again, then punk again, it's a bit jarring how they transition at some points, like two different bands. You'll like at least one of them, maybe even both. They finally reach the middle ground on the last two cuts, which find happy mediums of arty guitar noise and throbby low tempo rock, the pained "Disappear" and an interesting intrumental closer in "Mercy". I'm split on this record, as it's half full of moments where they just nail a sound, and the other half sounds sort of like a ghost of the same band trying to find these concrete moments of clarity. A half-good record isn't such a bad thing, is it?(RK)
(Radio Records Melbourne // radiorecordsmelbourne.tumblr.com)

Death Trap "No Hicks" EP
Just when you thought there was nothing but the stalest of table scraps left from the KBD vaults, Feral Kid Records lets loose with this lost slab of beef from King City, CA (a Central Coast town with San Jose being the closest civilization) from the '83-86 time frame (which actually ain't the proper "era" to be called KBD if yer a real stickler...). It's certainly not hardcore, or maybe a borderline case. You know the story, some kids discover MRR, start the only punk band in town, get harrassed by jocks, end up playing with some cool bands (Social D, Vandals, Dr. Know,...), and record some songs which never get a legit release. It has all you want from your TOTAL-KBD-DESTRUCTION: slight incompetence, wacky guitar sounds, youthful enthusiasm/boneheadedness. It's a hell of an effort. "No Hicks" lashes out at their high school scene (which apparently had it's own rodeo team?!) in a way that only seventeen year olds can. Some cursing, a rousing gang chorus and a piercing guitar solo somehwere in-between The Trend and a British ambulance (the vehicle, not the band). "Peer Pressure" has the perfect combination of bad lyrics and bad delivery, and they add a keyboard in there to make for some synth-punk to get old erucsbo drooling. "No Majority" delves into politics, an archaic idea these days, but it was what you did back then. That synth comes back and it sounds like a slinky or some shit. Hey Devo! The guitar player really gets a lot of mileage out of that same riff. "Fuck The Whales, Save The Humans" might be the most incompetently best song here, and I'm starting to think that's not a keyboard but the guy playing his guitar backwards with a slide through some effects pedal or something. Either way, it sounds like off-key and outta tune high-pitch slop, which is what we're looking for. Pretty fucking entertaining at this point in the game. Comes with insert and tasty silk-screened sleeves, a split release from the fine gents at Feral Kid and Warm Bath.(RK)
(Feral Kid Records // www.feralkidrecords.com)

Degreaser "Bottom Feeder" LP
Gnarly Aussie rooting from the remains of Sea Scouts, Bird Blobs and other shrapnel resting in the mind of Tim Evans. If you were following Sea Scouts back in their day, well I applaud you, because I myself have been playing catch-up with their work over the past year or two, and only then because of a tip from the Aussie sleuth who released this here record. So yeah, this thing goes deep in the burrow, perhaps if you didn't think Slug Guts went deep enough in the hole, well then you need dig no further than to follow this black rabbit. Dark layers of rhythm repeat and sway in a passively agressive lurch and flop, performing a No Wave application of the time-honored Aussie trogloditian swamp-swing. There's little variance from song to song, both rhythmically and aesthetically, vox are continuously delivered in a Yow-like drunk-murmuring-into-a-whiskey-bottle slur. There might only be one song here, who knows, there aren't even any song titles to be seen anywhere. The album leaves you feeling out of sorts. Sometimes this enhances the damage and adds a twisted psych quality to get lost in, and sometimes it makes it too much too take. Too much ugly repetition. When Degreaser leave you floating in some borderless dreamscape full of dust devils and shadow demons, they excel. The best couple of cuts off of this are as primal a scree you're going to scrape off the bottom of your shoe this year. A side long serving is plenty of time to get where they're going. Taking the whole thing at once might want to make you lay off the drugs for awhile. Which is a good thing, no? Scum stats: I'm sure there's only an unholy few of these, so get one now before you're paying a devil's ransom in 2012.(RK)
(Negative Guest List // negativeguestlist.blogspot.com)

Demon's Claws "Laserbeams" 7"
Nifty little single from Les Claws, showing both sides of the band. "Laserbeams" has them at the peak of their punk rock powers, a frantic guitar riff racing towards the hook. Fantastic. "Trip to the Clinic" shows off their rustic garage chops, with some watery organ giving it a psych background and country-ish guitar twang grounding it in the dust. Melancholic and majestic. The bummer is that the A-Side seems to have a pressing defect that makes for some disturbing warble (or maybe I just got a bunk copy), and both of these tracks appear on the 'Defrosting...' LP. Buyer beware.(RK)
(Savage Records // pushmybuttons.de)

Diet Cokeheads "Ocular" 7"
I spent more time than I should have staring and thinking about the cover image. Is it a mushroom? Some sort of cashew-penis? A tongue emerging from a donut? Interesting to think about. I just reviewed a split with these Floridian noise-rockers on which they sucked pretty bad. This thing has some teeth to it though. "Gay Goters" builds from slo-mo guitar prick to forceful velocity that sounds a little bit AmReppy - ominous drum-n-bass maelstrom, isolation chamber vox, sharp guitar lines carved into the wall of sound which winds down to a lumbering exit. Interestingly busy and aggro. "M. Dumptruck" is more on the art-noise side - oscillating screech and extra-dimensional bleep-blurping mind-melded with shredding guits while guy vs. gal vox duke it out. Harsh vibes executed well enough that I'd go see 'em live at the local artspace on a Thursday night. If it wasn't raining. Scum stats: 600 on black, 100 pieces of which are a special mailorder version. This appears to be the third in a concept series of singles about orifices.(RK)
(Vinyl Rites // www.vinylrites.net)

Dirtbombs “Party Store” 3x12"
I’m going to go ahead and say that after weeks of mulling over this, I can’t decide if “Party Store” is good or bad. Mick Collins and crew have truly crafted a record that is pretty confounding. No matter how much I tried, I just CANNOT talk about this record based on the music alone.
Basically, “Party Store” is The Dirtbombs taking a stab at recreating their native Detroit’s early and fruitful techno scene. Before I start this, I have a confession to make, and this is embarrassing, but I’m actually familiar with (and really love) a lot of the source material on here. Detroit Techno, in its earliest incarnation, was basically just a bunch of kids (Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson) making what they thought was Kraftwerk mixed with a little bit of Parliament. And it was good. Nothing they did in those early days involved any of the stupid glow stick wielding denizens of contemporary “club music.”
It’s a bummer, but to most people, a lot of “Party Store” is going to come off sounding like the Rapture or some bullshit like that. And unfortunately, that’s probably closer to the truth than even I’d like to admit. However, with that said, a few of the songs that work on their own merit are: Juan Atkins’ “Cosmic Cars,” A Number of Names’ “Sharevari,” and Cybotron’s “Alleys of Your Mind.” The ones that don't work (mainly just the twenty minute plus "Bugs in the Bass Bin")are pretty excruciating.
Is this what I want The Dirtbombs to sound like? No, not really, but at the very least it’s interesting. “Party Store” is ultimately kind of hard to critique, because it’s something that was done in such an intentional manner, and on paper it actually makes a lot of sense (geographically speaking at least). Never in my wildest dreams did I think that Carl Craig would show up on an In the Red record, but here it is 2011, and he somehow managed to find his way on one. Scion actually released a companion remix album that someone gave me at work. It features contemporary Detroit Techno dudes remixing The Dirtbombs’ covers of Detroit Techno classics, and I’m sure most people here don’t care, but it’s pretty weird hearing Omar-S remixing The Dirtbombs’ take on “Sharevari.” I can’t really see this becoming a trend, but at this rate, next thing you know, Tyvek will be putting out a covers version of “The Marshall Mathers" LP.(ES)
(In the Red // www.intheredrecords.com)

Divorced "Separation Anxiety" LP
Melbourne's Scott Dermody (the artist behind the Scott & Charlene's Wedding LP) leads this punk band with members of Beaches, ZOND, and other Aussie indie-rock outfits. Solid guitar sound throughout bordering on grunge in its fuzzed out riffing and wah-pedal adoration, Troggs cover reminds me a bit of Tunnel of Love, "They Don't Sleep Much" is a lengthy walkabout in Cosmic Psychos territory that really provides a good counter to the rest of the peppier cuts. Dermoody's vox are forceful and delivered in an accented monotone that he does punctuate with some real-sounding hate when the lyric deserves it. The lengthy guitar wanks never get too wanky, puking up just enough fuzz to take it just that needed bit over the edge. Lyrics are a real treat and create an air of wasted go-nowhere acrimony. "Nothing To Do", "Stupid Shit", "I Wanna Die" - sounds like a Dead Boys record, but these guys aren't quite that misanthropic - it's more just self-loathing than anything. After listen five I start to realize they sound more than a bit like L7. No shit. "Furniture Removing Machine" is certainly an ass-kicker in a punk-rawk sense. Recorded rather slick, and a little bit of rawness might have benefitted (and legitimized, as I get a bit of a feeling these guys are artier types doing some slumming) the sound as a whole and disguised some of the formulaic structuring repeated listens reveal, but overall it's forceful enough to keep you satisfied for the duration. More rock than punk at the end of it all and it's the guitar that saves the day. Scum stats: not sure on the quantity, but it must be only a handful. Giant fold-out sleeve with collage/lyrics/witches (in B&W, not color, as the lazy jpeg grab suggests).(RK)
(Untapped Resources // but in the US from Indoorsman)

Dog Day "Deformer" LP
Dog Day have released a few records before 'Deformer', the big difference now being that the husband and wife duo that is the core of the band have ditched the other members, fled to the countryside and recorded this LP on their own. Its gets a little precious, as two-piece "couples" bands have a tendency to do, but they keep it from getting too saccharine or sappy. Slightly fuzzy guitar/drums mid-tempo indie-rock with the pair trading vocal duties, exisiting somewhere along the Sub Pop intersection of Eric's Trip and Sebadoh. Smells of pine needles, farms and the Northern woods, lyrics hint at bitterness that I'm hoping has something to do with the break-up of the previous version of their band. A little band drama sometimes goes a long way as far as fuel for tunes (see both bands name-dropped earlier), and although this is borderline hippie shit, the fact they're from Halifax, apparently like dogs a lot and actually wrote an enjoyable set of a dozen tunes that evoke melancholy and mystery that both rock in a quiet way and also float out of the speakers like fireplace smoke in a woodland cabin keeps me listening. There's a darkness in the background that seeps out occassionally. Both of them have pleasant and familiar sounding voices, the recording is very organically low-fi (and sounds like it was recorded while holed up over a long winter) and the minimal instrumentation never seems lacking. As a fan of the Maritime Provinces, the Halifax indie-rock scene of years past and just Canada in general, I recommend this as something to keep you mellower types warm during the upcoming fall months and harvest season. Self-released and assembled by the duo, silkscreened sleeves and lyric/pictures booklet make it more engaging.(RK)
(Fun Dog Records // www.dogdaymusic.com)

Don Saund "Hvem Er Don Saund" LP
First four tracks are one person kicking a drum around while someone else recites gibberish scat vocals and makes kazoo sounds with their their mouth. Sometime around the fifth track one of them starts striking random strings on a guitar. It doesn't add much, but at least it drowns out the vocals a little bit. I think this might be improv stuff. No one could have premeditatedly come up with songs this bad. Unlistenable. Sounds as shitty as the cover looks. 105 copies it appears, which is 104 too many, even if this guy seems to be an avant-garde artist of note in Denmark.(RK)
(Mastermind Records // mastermindrec.com)

Double Negative "Hardcore Confusion Vol. 1" 7"
Double Negative "Hardcore Confusion Vol. 2" 7"
First two installments of the four-volume "Hardcore Confusion" 7" set from these Mid-Atlantic heavyweights. "Writhe" is the lead off track for the series and sets the bar pretty high. Furious and powerful hardcore from some veteran players with nothing to prove, they shift gears with precision from a barreling hardcore rammer to a churning breakdown that turns over on itself leaving you nauseous and angry. Nothing too overly "weird", just hardcore played as well as it possibly can be played at this point. Raw power. B-Side on this one is short blaster called "Cunny Hop". Vol.2 has "Fat City Adress", a hardcore-rock number with a chunky Ginn-like riff that is as hulking as it is shredding. "Face Jam" on the flip continues with the heaviness. An unerringly executed blend of rock'n'roll and hardcore - these guys can compete at speed trials as well as do some heavy lifting, and I'll say it again, this is about as good as it gets for no-frills hardcore punk in 2011. No leaning on feedback/reverb illusions or playing the mysterious guy card as some younger folks might feel the urge to, -/- are beyond that type of fooling around. This is all business, serious business, these guys can fucking play. I'm kinda scared to see them live now. Color vinyl, slick spot-gloss sleeves with a four-piece logo design you can piece together after you pick your teeth up off the ground.(RK)
(Sorry State Records // www.sorrystaterecords.com)

Dow Jones and the Industrials 7"
Impeccably done reissue of THEE seminal Indiana punk-rock single. I don't think I need to tell you about the music on this one, because you have to know these tunes by now, and if not you're either a 15 year old just discovering punk or not trying very hard. The technical stuff: remastered from the original tapes by Paul Mahern (Zero Boys) for optimum sound quality, faithful repros of both inserts and labels, plus a Pi Beta Phi postcard with an incredible group shot. The best parts are that this selling for the nice price ($5) and is a teaser for Family Vineyard's upcoming discography LP. Outstanding.(RK)
(Family Vineyard // www.family-vineyard.com)

Drainolith "You Paid For It" 7"
Two "song" seven-inch by one of the dudes from AIDS Wolf, who were pretty shitty in their own right. Maybe you like them, maybe you'll like this, I vote for neither. A-Side is just random fucking around with synths, guitar feedback and some digital drums. No rhythm or reason to speak of, at least until a couple of really bored sounding people start talking about halfway through. B-Side has a rhythm made up of an echoed-out tom and maybe the sound of someone jogging on a treadmill or perhaps slapping their skinny-jean clad thigh with the palm of their hand. More overly bored and boring vocal-talking. Some cling-clangy synth chimes in towards the end. Very experimental, sure. It's not even that annoying really, just sort of....boring. This just seems like a waste of time, and not just mine...(RK)
(Psychic Handshake // psychichandshake.bigcartel.com)

Dreamdate "Melody Walk" LP
Honestly, I was expecting this to be Burger Records styled goofballing budget punk for some reason. Maybe I was thinking of another band. I dunno. This is mature-sounding girl-rock, with an indie-pop roll to it. Well crafted tunes that sound more like the latter half of Holly Golightly's catalog than anything in the dreaded "dream-pop" genre that's rife in the Bay Area and Williamsburg these days. Country-ish swingers, some acoustic folk numbers, some jangle-pop. They do a good job of keeping things moving without falling into the myriad cliches that trip up many other gal-bands of today, whether it's weak attempts at girl-group sounds (Sandwitches), absolutley flat indie-pop (Grass Widow), obscured-by-fuzz dreamery (any band inspired by the Vivian Girls), dream-pop so cloying it nearly becomes self-parody (Le Sera)...I could go on, but I'm sure every band with a female in it hates me already. I could give a fuck. I love plenty of girl bands, and have no time for any band that sucks regardless of gender. Dreamdate certainly do not suck and will play circles around all of you. Case closed. I also have to hand it to Mattt over at TTT, as this guy will stick his fingers into absolutely any genre pie and does a pretty good job of picking winners. Portfolio = diversified.(RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)

Drugs Dragons "The Milorganight EP" 12"
Honestly, I think I've liked Drugs Dragons more in theory than execution so far. Being a devout Tonys fan however, I was along for the ride despite any reservations I might have had in the back of mind. I did enjoy the LP, but didn't find myself going back to it as much as I thought I would, although it was definitely their peak moment...until this 12" EP arrived. I'm not pulling your pud here, I think they nailed this one. I feel like they dialed the weird back a notch and concentrated more on the tunes themselves, which are actually sorta catchy this time around believe it or not. Ugly as fuck, but still catchy. "Dead Mouths" is classy rockn'roll in the Clone Defects vein with some slight "electronics" in the background that give it that needed extra texture to go along with a classic Tonys broken-neck riff. "Pestilence in the Flesh" falls somewhere between punk rock and Alice Cooper Band, with an actual guitar hook that they chew up and spit out at the end. "Milorganight" sounds like them loosely interpreting Grand Funk. "Icicle" is so close to sounding like Sagger (the band) it made me teary-eyed and "Staring into the Blue Screen" is gnarly biker-psych. Maybe the strongest two cuts right there. The less said about a Brainbombs cover the better, but I'm not holding it against them. No one can pull that off, except maybe the Country Teasers. Maybe. I think the real key to success here is the recording, done as crisp and clean as can be without sounding sterile by that Bushmeister guy and I imagine Justin Perkins deserves an assist for mastering. It sounds loud and tough and the band sounds lean and focused and I think they've come damn close to what they're going for here.(RK)
(Dusty Medical // www.dustymedical.com)

Drunk Elk "Seneca's Last Breath" 7"
From what I've been told, there isn't so much going on in Tasmania as far as a music scene (Native Cats and "black metal demos" notwithstanding), and I always think of it as the the even more isolated version of the most isolated parts of Australia. I guess that explains why this guy sounds so bummed about shit. Accompanying press touches plenty on the Jeffries/This Kind of Punishment sound and the Xpressway->Siltbreeze catalog overlap. I get it, in that both of those labels encompass some bands that I truly enjoy and also plenty of artists that I feel like I have to try too hard to get into. Speaking frankly, the A-side of this is just some guy moaning accompanied by minimal guitar. B-Side is the guy moaning some more with a carnival organ added to the barely-there musical backing. It's awful, really. I know there's plenty out there who will call this "art" and talk about how honest it is or some shit, and maybe I'm too much of a lunkhead to understand it. That's ok with me.(RK)
(Quemada Records // quemadarecords.blogspot.com)

Duchess of Saigon s/t LP
A 45rpm LP's worth of unreleased Duchess of Saigon tracks, recorded by Mighty Mighty Woodhouse between 2002 and 2005. For those outside the Sacramento city limits or not under Soriano's Italian witchcraft spell, DoS were a two-piece guy-n-his-gal outfit who did some time in the Sacto-scene and had a couple singles on local imprints Plastic Idol and S-S (duh) who then split town after never finishing their LP. Soriano then found the master tape in a shoebox under his bed while looking for an errant pizza crust and decided to release it. Which turns out to have been a good idea. It's a perfectly paced dozen or so cuts that sidle right in next to the rest of the early S-S roster (and Dragnet family), mixing the A-Frames guitar sound with the slightly left-of-center pop structure of The Intelligence (this guy sings a lot like Lars too). Obviously the recording is great, which creates a clean template for the delivery of their art-school garage-rock. Supposedly Mary had never played drums before this band, and she's apparently one hell of a quick learner. No Peg-style tribal thumping here, she's actually on the busy side, filling in a lot of the space behind the guitar and contributing lovely backing coos and oohs on many of the songs. Pleasantly surprising, I think it leaves them a better legacy than the singles would have. And honestly, Woodhouse deserves a big hunk of credit for the way this thing sounds. 300 copies, silk-screen sleeves are succint and slightly off-center, which is perfectly fitting.(RK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Dust Bugs s/t 7”
Rumble/grumble punk with rotgut love for mid-tempo Misfits and the USofA’s leather jacket rock n’ roll. Sounds like Seattle’s Empty Records scene circa: 1995 only filtered thru the blurry drunken eyes of Danes. Muddy and low-tech stuff that ain’t too offensive or too original. The occasional Obliv’s stomp figures in (as well as a tune mentioning Memphis). I’m thinking of it as a lesser non-Horr(ors)ified fanboys of Tokyo Electron or the Hex Dispensers? I dunno…I love those guys and already have ‘dem rekkids. Keep pluggin’ away at it, folks. Someday it’ll come. (RSF)
(Mastermind Records // www.mastermindrec.com)

Eagle Boys "Kambalda" 7"
London-based band of Australian travelers that barely existed from what NGL HQ tell us, but who had the good sense to both name themselves after a bad Aussie pizza-chain and record these tracks on someones broken tape machine before packing it in. "Kambalda" is a jittery punk number about starting brush fires in the Oz countryside that presents some Wire-like tenison as played by drunken louts sipping the meths. Actually, the drummer sounds pretty sober and great. B-Side has two shorter and punker broadsides which do remind me of a younger sounding Bits of Shit. Sleeve and label present different titles for the tracks which is always makes for fun. A-Side is a real treat, but the flipside shows some deceptive catchiness on repeats.(RK)
(Negative Guest List // negativeguestlist.blogspot.com)

Electric Crush “Dropouts in a Drug Haze” 12”
A seriously wack archival release of a largely unknown one man Nevadan recording project. Initially pressed as a (twice as long) cassette in the early Aughts’. This here is a short play disaster, full of outsider trash/punk/garage/hip-hop/fucker-doodling. You ever been to Vegas? Not the tourist strip or old town, but the REAL Las Vegas? It’s like the bone dry concrete armpit of the world. A deee-presso wasteland littered with corner stores, Motel 6’es and cheap lingerie viewing depots. This is the sound of “high” spirits in those low lands. The sound of lazy afternoons, spent on Purp Drank, left to fry in discount outlet parking lots. Off kilter, drug busted and delayed. Crunk-punk. Outta’ tune rock riffs, done dubbed all to hell. Crazy beatbox/boombox interludes, sampled ramblings and jagged broken off bits of funk-tunes, left dangling like bloody meth scabs on some litter-wizard’s chin. Fills the gaps nicely between those Vex Ruffin 45’s, 'Orange'–era Blues Explosion, Wicked Witch’s space-soul and the noisiest of the Tunnel of Love recordings. I can feel the hangover coming on already and it’s only two in the afternoon. 300 of these have been unleashed. Sleeve art/homage makes me giddy. (RSF)
(Black Gladiator // www.slovenly.com)

The Electricutions "Forgotten City" 7"
The Electricutions are a DC outfit fronted by Scott Wilson, brother to Odie of Baseball Furies/Vilent Lover's Club infamy and have had a couple releases out on Big Neck so far that were fair-to-middling. Politically charged UK-styled punk, obviously Clash influenced with touches of SLF and UK Subs. Socially conscious music like this is certainly a rarity these days, at least around Termbo HQ, and you've gotta admire the effort. I think this is definitely his best material, his vox have nice hoarseness here and the tempos are interestingly frantic with even a slight mod touch. Having Kid Congo producing probably helped. Very earnest, somuchso that it actually sort of works. It's a shame his preaching will go unheard to the pizza-fied masses.(RK)
(Windian Records // windianrecords.blogspot.com)

Empty Heads "Get Real Dumb" 7"
Chicago garage-punk from a band led by that Shane Lobotomy guy who released one of the worst singles of recent memory. The Jay Reatard-lite impersonation was so uninspired I didn't even bother writing a review of it. This "band" he's got is at least a bit spunky and "Josie" has a decent garage-punk hook-n-riff to it, delivered as sloppily as it should be. "Get Real Dumb" sounds like an average Useless Eaters tune with a fancier guitar solo. Should have been dumber. Honestly, I would have liked this more if I didn't know it had anything to do with that Shane Lobotomy baloney - because that was some of the phoniest shit I've seen in a while. Scum stats: 300 copies with some different colored highlighters used for sleeve variants you shouldn't really be concerned with.(RK)
(Fatal Seizure // in stock now at Permanent!)

The Energy "The Energy's First Album" LP
Houston has given us some punk thrills over the past year or two via the limited edition punk slabs from No Talk and Secret Prostitutes, two bands who have a rather unique approach to the KBD-punk influenced "genre". Whether it be butchy leather-boy themes or singing in Indonesian, they have a hook that sets them apart and draws you in. The Energy, who have members of both bands in the fold, lack some of the raw attitude that made those bands so intriguing from the get-go. The band are fairly slick sounding and certainly more accessible, which I initially thought was somewhat of a detriment in this case. Not that there's a lack of personality or skill here. The lyrics delve into dark mental spaces, delivered in a clinical deadpan vocal style, supported by well laid out song structures - which they need to be, as more than half of these punk tunes break the 4-5 minute mark (one even clocking in at 8+ minutes). Unconvential, sure, and more beholden to post-punk and even garage-psych trends than anything you'll find on a Killed By Death volume. Guitar drive is the key here, and there's truckloads of it, laden with reverb and creative use of distortion making for some adventurous solo excursions. It makes you think they spent a ton of time doing overdubs on these tracks, as they're jammed full of effects. It's deceptive, in that the more time you spend listening the harder it becomes to describe. At one point I thought they sounded like a far more interesting take on what Pac-NW bands like The Observers or Red Dons were trying (and failing) to pull off, but it's more than that. There's definite pop sensibility to the songs, as there has to be something catchy going on to keep you tuned in for the sprawled out tunes. And they manage to pull it off. I came into this looking for the raw shits of their other bands and ended up being being pleasantly surprised by the mature anbd dark take on punk rock here. It's gutsy and smart. No obnoxious gimmicks, just ballsy twin-guitar fry and an unassuming vocal-style that at first seems too dry but ends up being the perfect compliment to the bustling energy (ugh) of the songs. Eight tracks in about 40 minutes seems to defy the standard, but they make it work. I let this one fly under the radar for too long. Scum stats: first press of 300 sold out, repress on red vinyl might still be available from a distro. Sorry I didn't give you the heads-up about this sooner. Fantastic screened(?) sleeves too.(RK)
(Team Science Records // www.teamsciencerecords.com)

The Energy "Get Split" LP
Hey, this review section took so long I've had actually had a chance to get The Energy's second LP before press time! I should be embarrassed, but I'm glad it offered me the chance to listen to this a half dozen times or so, because that first LP took a few spins before I realized how good it was. Sadly, I can't say the same about this one. "Live in Ruin" starts the record off in a promising style, sounding like Annihilation Time without the Flag parts, more like just the Thin Lizzy/Pink Fairies influenced stuff. But it goes downhill steeply from there. They add a lot of gloss to the tracks this time, but lose the odd touches that made the first record interesting. The singing just sounds like any run-of-the-mill indie-rock guy now instead of the mental patient deadpan and even though they're billing themselves as psych-punks here, the guitars sound scrubbed clean of most distortion, just a few pedal effects here and there and a bit of reverb on solos. They seem to be more concerned with catchier songs and hooks and it just makes the mid-tempo tracks sound plodding. A pretty flat effort overall, sounds like generic alt-rawk and not so much like punk, psychedelic or otherwise. Just bland rock that can't decide what it wants to be. At times it reminded me of a really lame Fu Manchu record. And I liked some Fu Manchu records way back when. Also makes me think of The Young LP, if that LP had not been very good. Steer clear of this one, but I'm still highly endorsing the first LP.(RK)
(Team Science // teamsciencerecords.bllogspot.com)

Estrogen Highs “Cycles” 12” EP
Released shortly after their “Friends & Relatives” album, “Cycles” is more a continuation than follow up. Seven tracks recorded during the album sessions and cut from the same jib—sparse sound, clever hooks, as much garage as kiwi-pop or punk, which is to say none of the above, exactly. Estrogen Highs have long since dishonored genre convention and are churning out some quality tunes with an increasingly singular voice. Housed in a sharp-looking silk-screened DJ sleeve to boot, and released in a 300 copy press run on a local label.(DH)
(Safety Meeting Records // www.safetymeeting.net)

Factorymen "Yellow Eyes and the Sound of Vomit" 12" EP
The latest creation from Lean Steven's Factorymen project, which is just Steve doing everything for all we know, but could actually have some co-conspirators this go-round. Not that it matters any. It's easy to think of this stuff as the clearinghouse for the mind of a man who is staying up way too late at night. Taking sleep-deprived ideas and creating musical collage work out of them using tape manipulation, some sort of synth/drumbox set up and more actual instrumentation than we've heard on past works. I think this might be the most listener-friendly F-Men record to date. There's definitely some attention given to creating rhythms, whether with looped tape cut-ups or actual drums, they're there and even quite pleasant at times. The borrowed sounds splice things together, whether it's a random rap 12", a folk record, some Lawrence Welk maybe. A few tracks follow the same direction as the night music being created in Steve's other-other project Pleasure Leftists. Something like "S.E.C." sounds like OCD-DIY-punk, as does "She's My Mexican Man". A bit less maniacal sounding than 'Shitman', but as equally strange and obsessive in its construction. Really, it reminds me of the 3:00-4:00am time slot on the radio station in my dreams. Genuinely bizarre, yet I feel this one reaching out to the listener more than any other effort, more of a shake of the hand instead of the disorientation of previous recordings. This is the Factorymen record to get if you haven't heard "them" yet. Scum stats: 305 copies only, plus a download code for almost the entire Factorymen catalog to date for added value.(RK)
(Riche Records/Testosertunes // testostertunes.blogspot.com)

Faith "Subject to Change" LP
I'd say it's a shame that Faith will forever live in Void's shadow, but really, being on that split LP was the best thing that could have happened. I'd probably have never heard Faith if they weren't on the other side of one of the greatest hardcore recordings of all time, or I at least would have heard them way later in the game than I did. And it's not like they totally suck either, even though I thought they did for many years. Their biggest mistake was simply not being Void. What were they gonna do about that? They didn't have a long shelf life anyway, breaking up before the 'Subject to Change' 12" was even released. So, my major beef with Faith is that they laid they groundwork for bands like Rites of Spring and Embrace, which essentially means they were in on the ground floor of emo, one of the most atrocious subgenres in music history. Not to mention their ties to straight edge, but we'll let Minor Threat take the fall for that one. I guess they shoudn't have to shoulder the cross for the sins of the bands that came after them, and they certainly don't sound like a bunch of pussies on this record. In fact, Side B of this contains the demos of the songs that ended up on the split with Void (minus "Face to face"), and a good portion of them rip more than hard enough. "Confusion" is a great song, regardless of how much baggage about the band you bring to your listening experience. The demo versions are just a bit rawer (it was recorded at Inner Ear, so we're not talking basement tapes quality here) and it's anthemic early Eighties DC hardcore, inferior in relation to their peers perhaps, but still good on its own merit. On 'Subject to Change' they started getting more melodic (melodic = emo), the lyrics started getting into cringe-worthy territory (songs about feelings and "heart" instead of just singing abiout being young and pissed off) and the next thing you know Embrace were playing "emotional hardcore" and that was that. So fucking wimpy. I want to say this is worth it for the demos (which are great) but I don't know if they make up for the A-Side pussyfooting...either way, it's nice to see this era of stuff being reissued (in particular the Void demos LP! LOLZ) by Dischord, although I thought there might be more extensive liner notes/photos involved in the packaging. Selling for the nice price anyway.(RK)
(Dischord // www.dischord.com)

Feeling of Love "Dissolve Me" LP
It's remarkable how far Guillaume has taken Feeling of Love beyond the original incarnation of the band that made the 'Petite Tu Es Un Hit' LP, what seems like almost a decade ago (but in reality has only been 3 or 4 years). Quickly outgrowing (or rendering futile) the noisy garage-rock trappings utilized on that first run of singles, and beginning to shift gears and transition sometime during the batch of singles that surrounded the 'OK Judge Revival' LP, we've ended up here five years past the first 7" with a completely different sound. Play that first Yakisakana 7" back to back with this LP for a lesson in evolution. It's one of the best examples of an artist maturing I've had the pleasure of hearing unfold. 'Dissolve Me' takes the VU-infuences of 'OK Judge...' and adds a synth-heavy Suicide vibe this time around, along with some more psychedelic and Kraut-influenced lines, and yes, there's still the ghost of garage-rock chained to the bedpost as well. "Cellophane Face" sets the mood immediately - lots of droning keys, throbbing reverb utilized as percussion, the rhythm of hazy opium visions, somewhat dark textures offset by dreamy guitars and vox. An exceptional opener that gives way to the title cut's thick synth hook. "Funk Police" is a short and danceable number somwhere between The Intelligence and Le Shok. "I Am the Road" again builds a fever dream out of droning keys, psych guitar and reverbed vocal ghosting for the album's most epic cut. "We Are Out of Tune" and "Numboy" will have you realizing that Cheveu are the closest contemporaries G has these days in France (or anywhere), there's a fun no-fi Gainsbourg cover with added female vox. Ty Segall (and Sic Alps and others...) should listen to "Empty Trash Bag" and take notes, because G hands them their lunch by sounding like what I imagine they wish they could sound like (or is it just what I wish they would sound like?). "White Smoke Rising" closes the album fittingly on a Velvets/S3 note, elegant and sophisticated, just like we ugly Americans like our Frenchmen to appear. Minimal guitar, simple drum beat punctuated with lush cymbal crashes and a subliminal organ pulse. A beautiful record that I urge you to purchase tout de suite.(RK)
(Kill Shaman // www.killshaman.com)

Femsickliver s/t 7"
Jesus Christ. After the 'Weed Whore' flexi-thing blew minds and o-rings here at Termbo HQ I received news Femsickliver was getting an "official" vinyl release in the near future. And the future is now. Femsickliver are Clevo's modern day answer to The Mentors, only not as good looking. Punk rock'n'roll that's actually not all that sloppy, there are some hot guitar licks and whoever else comprises the all-star cast of this band are certainly gamers. The real treat here is the vocal performance of one Russ Romance. Hearing him deliver songs like "Blowjob Only" and "Jerkoff Vacation" is worth the cover charge. Free of good taste and class, it's half stand-up comedy and half offensive punk rock in the tradition of GG, Dwarves and other similarly cretinous acts. "Skirts" is the new hit, but the reprisal of "Weed Whore" is still the main attraction. I'm thankful this modern classic is now available to a slightly larger audience with the release of this slab. It'll make you laugh, and maybe cry. With maniacal intro from none other than Paulito Trichecho himself. Scum stats: undisclosed pressing quantity, two sleeve variants, one of the Barely Legal variety and one drawn by renowned outsider artist Steven Peffer.(RK)
(Ehah! Records // figure it out yourself)

Fielded “White Death” 7”
Solo recordings of lone lass named Lindsay Powell, who seems to have quite a respectable resume. Four songs consisting mostly of layered vocals and simple electronics to add bonus texture. The tunes float along the lines of some of the earlier Zola Jesus records, as well as hinting at Coco Rosie creepiness or Kate Bush’s simpler moments. Yes I do know what they sound like. Fuck you. This lady’s got pipes, and she’s layin‘em bare. The B-side ups the instrumentation a bit with some drum machine throb and minimal synth-play. As the flip rolls on, the choruses build and the f/x get more squiggly, but never enough to shake off the gloom. The final track ("The Source") strips everything back to just the treated voice, and builds it into a collage of odd chants…until some beats come along at the end. Did I mention the early Zola stuff? It’s bleak, snowy and simple. I like it. A ladyboy, right here. (RSF)
(Sophomore Lounge Records // www.sophomoreloungerecords.com)

First Base "I Saw Her First" 7"
I still don't really know who First Base is. I did some research some time ago and know it's one guy, from Toronto, and he's dished some of the best lightweight pop tunes of recent vintage. I'm sure you could lump this into the Nobunny/Eric & The Happy Thoughts axis of no-fi-pop, and he's traded cover tunes with Personal and The Pepperonis, but I think First Base separates a bit from this pack. There's less of a garage/trash aesthetic going on and I think he's coming from a more traditional AOR-like version of pop tunesmithing. The recording is less beholden to the AM radio and zero-fi model and driven more by the quirkiness of the instrumentation/recording, which is all done on Windows Sound Recorder from what I've been told, and that actually sounds quite crisp for what it is. Strummy guitar, hissy digital drums and pleasant vocal harmonizing (multi-tracking himself, I imagine) are used to deliver undefeatable hooks. "I Saw Her First" is your standard get-that-girl powerpopper with a summertime guitar solo, "Get A Taste Of Your Love Again" sounds like Saturday morning cartoons and his version of "I Don't Feel So Happy Now" turns it into amusement park folk. This guy could make a killing doing records for children. As it is, he'll have to settle for an audience of garage-turkeys who still think they're kids. Innocent hits nonetheless. Nice package and a promising first release for Ric Rac. Scum stats: 480 copies, all on white vinyl, 100 with screenprinted sleeves.(RK)
(Ric Rac Records // ricracrecords.bigcartel.com)

Anita Fix & Bam Bam "Run for Joy" 7"
If you were smart/lucky enough to dig the wonderful and absolutely necessary release of the Dead at 24 LP from RTS a couple years ago, this lil' 7" will hold particular interest for you as 3/4 of that band are Anita Fix & Bam Bam. The rest of you can stop here...naw, just kiddin' fellas, anyone with a taste for bizarro art-rock should enjoy this at least a little. Anita Fix is the lady(?) at the front supposedly, although the vocals are certainly handled by a couple of guys, I think Bam Bam is one of them. I dunno, it's just one of those arty things where they have some weird alien history made up and all that shit. "Run for Joy" is actually a real swell tune (with some lyrical baseball references!) that has a Velvets as interpreted by Half Japanese vibe to it. "20 Second Bugs" might have been recorded live, perhaps some improv noise and lyrics over heavy percussion - sounds like an Eighties-artistes-in-LA performance art thing crossed with a little Ubu/Huey proto-punkness. Limited to 300.(RK)
(Ride the Snake // www.ridethesnakerecords.com)

Flying Trichecos s/t 12"
Believe it or not, our favorite Trichecos have actually turned into a pretty fucking great live band these days. The addition of Wedge on drums certainly helped, but I think the rest of the boys seem more focused (or at least as focused as is possible) on stage the past couple of times I've seen them. That focus might be centered on destroying things or playing songs, depending on which night you see them. Either way you win. Seven straight hits of the good stuff. Hits like the fist-pumping sing-a-long of "Noseblocker" (with funky Big Boys-esque verse included), classic slices of Clevo punk like "Recidivist" and "Rock-O-Rama" and even the classy rock moves of their manifesto "Death To False Drugs". I think one of the British guys from Cider does some backing vox on a few songs too. Sounds great spinning at 45rpm, one-sided (you know what the other side is for), with moronic insert (with lyrics!) and sleeve. Absolutely essential. Look out for the limited to 50 Horriblefest version that is far superior to the regular version....(RK)
(Mastermind Records // www.mastermindrec.com)

Folded Shirt "F/S" 12"
The more I've listened to and thought about Folded Shirt and this record, the less I feel like I have to say. I don't think any band has stripped punk rock (or just plain old rock'n'roll) down to its naked self as embarrasingly as these guys have. They've distilled it right down to its essence. Pulled its pants down for the world to see. Even given it a wedgie. I wanted to say that you really don't understand this band fully unless you understand the men as individual artists, but that's all bullshit, as anyone can listen to this record without having heard Darvocets or Vagina Boys or Mormons and realize this is genuinely retarded in all the right ways. The best thing to happen to music since Frank Zappa invented free jazz. I don't wish to impress on you that this some dada art project or highfalutin concept work, when it's not. At least I don't think it is. I don't even know what to think about it anymore, so I'm going to stop. You just need to shut your brain off and listen. It just is what it is. The rejuvenation of punk rock music right here in 2011. Listen to the lyrics and be amazed. "Retard Hoedown" is the #1 dance song of the year. "Bicycle" is their sprawling Side A closing epic. "Ice Machine" and "Wet Brain" are the catchy numbers you'll find yourself humming while you dig ditches at your day job. A drummer who doesn't know how to play drums. A guitar player using a toy guitar and no chords or notes even. A bass player who might be the only one paying attention. One of the best frontmen of modern times. This one has a little bit of everything. It might be too much for some of you more uptight listeners out there...too childish, too bizarre, too pop-oriented perhaps. It's not the easiest listen for the narrow-minded, but the rewards you might pluck from this delicious punk-rock porkpie will be some of the most savory music you'll feed your ears all year.(RK)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiotsrecords.com)

Trent Fox & The Tenants "Mess Around" EP
Milwaukee garage-rockers with a five songer of feelin' good tunes. Some of the expected pop-punk moves combined with quirky rock'n'rolling of the "nice guy" variety. Your average local band caliber stuff that won't be worrying any headlining acts on the shows they open. Yellow/green Packers color scheme with screened sleeves and some burnt edges add that personal touch.(RK)
(Kind Turkey Records // www.kindturkeyrecords.com)

Fuckin' Boneshakers "1995 Masterbation Sessions" 12"
The band that launched...well, Nobunny and a few others. Born in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield (also home to the Mentally Ill), the FBs (hey...) featured Dan Lang (who went on to The Brides and is currently in Vee Dee), Dr. Filth (founding member of Functional Blackouts and Daily Void) and Justin Champlin, the man who would become Nobunny (after playing in Sneaky Pinks, Okmoniks and more). Talk about a stacked line-up. This band was often mentioned amongst serious music dorks and Chitown locals for years, and there was a version of this (and/or a later BradX recording session) available on the black market at some point. Never thought I'd see it on vinyl, but the time has come for archival releases from the mid-Nineties it seems. Obviously this thing is indebted to the primitive school of garage-punk via Rip off, Crypt, Estrus and such, and it's not hard to believe that this was recorded in one hour in a basement. Sloppy as can be, totally shit-fi, guitar is ear-piercing and often untuned, vocals get lost in the mix...but, you can recognize the genesis of some future genius underneath all the muck, most notably an early version of "Kill Kill Kill" later turned into a chart-topper by Sneaky Pinks. A good portrait of a shitty teenage band practicing and even more interesting knowing where these guys went. So raw it kind of hurts, and I think a lot of people will enjoy this more as an archaeological listen but it still has some merit as just a garbage-fi piece of slop, regardless of who's involved. I mean, I wish more bands today were this punk, even if some of it is delightfully unlistenable. I also enjoy the fact that some hipsters will buy this because of the Nobunny connection and be totally bummed out by it. Scum stats: 200 on "piss yellow" wax, 500 on black swirl, plus a few test presses in play. And at least the label guy just clipped the corners of the promos this time instead of writing stupid shit on the sleeve...(RK)
(Certified PR // www.certifiedprrecords.com)

Fungus Brains "Ron Pisto's Real World" LP
If I ever meet Ben from Load in person I will kiss him. On the lips. 'Ron Pisto's Real World' has been #1 on my want list for at least 15 years now, and in all that time I'd barely come close to even sniffing a copy, not for lack of trying. It's certainly one of the rarest (non-KBD) of Aussie punk records, and one that I dreamt of owning for many years. The first record from this key piece of the Eighties Aussie underground, a band that links the Sick Things and Venom P. Stinger (via guitar genius Mick Turner) and is part of the longer chain that I feel includes Scientists, feedtime, Birthday Party and even X and/or Cosmic Psychos. Physical rock'n'roll produced from the guts, built on strength of guitar and sturdy rhythm sections, direct descendents of The Stooges with the always loveable Australian sense of disgruntled living and drinking. Originally released in 1983, it's a definitive document of the time, certainly indebted to Cave/Birthday Party in the vocals and its interpretation of 'Fun House' via sax/trumpet wailing and hypnotically repeptitive and drugged riffs is something that's been done a million times since. But this was happening before all that, almost 30 years ago now, and it's rarely been done with such conviction and truth. Seminal. I'm honestly shocked that someone reissued this as I figured it would never happen. It's not a record I thought a lot were clamoring for, but in an age where every third-rate Sixties psych band gets a 2XLP reissue with bonus tracks, it only seems right to give a real classic a chance to breathe again. Speaking of bonus tracks, this adds the two extra cuts from the Dr. Jim's CD version from years ago. Limited to 650 copies. Reissue of the year (so far).(RK)
(Load Records // www.loadrecords.com)

G.Green “I Will Not Withdraw This Statement” 7”
DJ Rick’s near-faves have come back atcha’…but this time as a full band. The title track makes a mess with guitar slop-pop, full of hyperactive yodeling and a retard-o teen chorus chucking about “whoah-ohs” left and right. Think a less frantic (but just as spat up) Tyvek or some such. Has a tossed off though still catchy damned-if-we-do vibe. I’d call it ramshackle if I hadn’t called everything ramshackle throughout my reviewing “career”. That goes for shambling as well. Hmm…new expletive search, STAT. "Looks" is the most straightforward rocker of the platter. Primal bashing and garage snot obnoxia. "The Garden"’s lead vocals strain to pass some wow-what-the-fuck passages that makes you think the singer might not even know he’s being recorded. Uncomfortably off. That said; this way out o’ tune mouth layered against the downright pretty picking somehow works together like cheese and pickles. Then it falls apart. Sweet. Fans looking for the common grounds between Mess Folk’s Hozac single, Uzi Rash’s back catalog or other off-kilter kin, might have found a new friend. Slackers rejoice. The sun can really bake a brain in Sacto. (RSF)
(Malt Duck //www.maltduckrecords.com)

Gaggers “Two Fingers Down the Throat” 7”
Don’t let that Briefs look fool ya...I almost did. I prepared to shit all over this…until I actually listened up. Piercing UK 70s three chord bangers that manage to be melodic yet still real abrassive. I guess a Stitches comparison is in the cards, but the voice is scraping its sinuses clean in a bratty Freestone or Brian Nervous sorta’ way. Bonus points for added vomit sounds. I’d imagine this’d snuggle up nicely shelved between early (real early) Sick Fits and the first Carbonas records on your shelves. And I’m totally down with that. Thick & classy full color euro-sleeve. 400 pressed with 200 on Pepto-stained vinyl. 100 with an alternative sleeve. Oh, the games we play.(RSF)
(Bat Shit Records // flyingrodentfecalmatter.blogspot.com)

Games "Don't Look For Her" 7"
Debut single from NYC's Games, a four-piece with ties to Busy Signals, Carbonas and Gentleman Jesse. "Don't Look for Her" exhibits some glam influence in its stompy backbeat and harmony/hook, but without the glitter and glitz that a lot of corndogs feel necessary to include when tapping this vein. Dare I say a "mature" interpretation of the genre? "Funny Girl" is more power-pop indebted with a mid-tempo hook and more winning vocal harmonies. Sounds a lot like a record you would expect one of the guys who runs the Sing Sing reissue label to make. Looking into the past without sounding (and looking) too much like a revival act. I thought Games was a pretty cool name for a band, and apparently so did another band from NYC, but don't get confused, as the "other" Games seems to be limp indie-rock.(RK)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

Gas Chamber s/t LP
When, in coming decades, Buffalo decides to save itself compounding embarrassment and sinks itself into Lake Erie, instead of a comprehensive exposé on the Queen City’s ascent, decline and decay within the explanatory framework of free trade undermining the relevance of national output, this LP, in addition to the pending catalogue of Plates, may well be assigned listens in Econ classes nationwide. Where said act is fecundated with trickles of acid rain and informed by the trajectory of crumbling (from factory to neighborhood to psyche) thus providing a perfect summary of the Buffalo aesthetic, Gas Chamber has achieved an artistic projection of oneness with the circumstances of death, which is the sensatory underlay when your stomping ground’s a metropolitan carcass. Boasting stalwarts of the city’s golden age of sonic misanthropy – members of They Live, Slavestate, and the mighty Running For Cover – this 12” harkens back to the thick of what are now mere anecdotal asides one files away time and time again existing in a scene; of when Buffalo was viewed internationally as a powerhouse of the emotional tundra, rigor mortis sliding its cold phalanges of finish over sprawls of urban prairie and industrial shells, ringing hope from the eyes of its inhabitants in the process. This record is a confounding, noise-riddled display of pure catharsis brought to you in analog format by the faculties of artisans in extremis, injecting sonic wave-manipulation between ohmgasms like the piles of dirt, garbage and snow that insulate their daily doings. For fans of Georges Bataille and End Time music in general. (BG)
(Warm Bath Label // www.gaschamberhardcore.wordpress.com)

Gas Chamber "Corpse With Levity" 7" + flexi
Second release from this Buffalo colossus, and material that I far prefer to the LP reviewed above. I think the recording here makes all the difference - the bass sound achieved (and playing for that matter) adds a sense of drama and creates tension against the thick waves of noise created by the rest of the band, almost at odds with one another, combatting the sea then swimming in it. It lends emotion to the songs, adding needed weight that they show live but I don't think was transferred to the sounds on the 12". Vox are placed well in the mix and are recorded just clean enough to give them personality instead of allowing them to become a blur of reverb. A record that is heavy sounding and also evokes heavy thoughts, not a totally grim or depressed aesthetic but certainly thoughtfully melancholic and intelligently aggressive. Six cuts of hardcore with substance that comes quite close to grind (and metal) at moments but never fully succumbs to the faceless noise that genre sometimes turns to. I was pleasantly surprised at how catchy some of the rhythms they create become, adding welcome melodicism to the songs; not a hook by any means, but something familiar to grab onto when things get rough. And the band knows exacty when to pull back and when to keep mashing, a very well balanced attack. A record that succeeds both musically and aesthetically and one I'm proud was created in my hometown. The flexi adds a droning noisescape from the same sessions, and it's thankfully more hallucinatory than it is abrasive. Fantastic artwork on both. Highly recommended.(RK)
(Warm Bath Label // warmbathlabel.wordpress.com)

Girls At Dawn "Back To You" 7"
I know what you're wondering. How the fuck did these gals get an LP out on Norton Records?! Were Miriam and Billy trying to hitch a ride on the dream-pop gravy train? Or do they just dig the whole drowning in echo-o-o inept Shaggs-meet-Shangri-Las vibe these ladies exude? Well, I don't think it was a cash-in from a label that just released a King U vs. South Bay Surfers split. So, how can anyone honestly like such a bad (for lack of a better word) band? I think we just hit the ol' nail there. BAD. Girls at Dawn are perhaps unfairly lumped in with the whole Vivs/Slumberland/dream-snooze movement, when in reality they're just a really inept, so-bad-they're-good band of easy-on-the-eyes ladies. At least that's how I choose to see it. Whether they're dumbing it down or are actually this talent-free then becomes the important question. If they had some sort of Fowley-esque svengali involved, that would be a real plus. As it is, I just hope they're honestly as innocent and incompetent as "WCK" sounds, a song that goes beyond terrible and back. In this day of media oversaturation and questionable agendas (and the fact they're from NYC) it's tough to take things at face value. So I'll just think what I wanna think, and call this so bad it's actually really good.(RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)

Girls of Porn s/t 7”
This should come with a high risk tinnitus warning. Shrill-drill guitars, constant cymbal crash and straight up tinsel chewing feedback. “Music” that walks a tightrope between AIDS Wolf spazz and Eat Skull spunk. It’s barely able to make its way outta’ the white wash long enough to enter the eardrum. There’s just so much echo, distortion and other random sounds bouncing off the walls. I can only assume this was recorded in one of those cheap Menard’s do-it-yourself aluminum sheds. Which brings to mind the instant (s)hit on the platter; "Shed Blaster". This track frolics through some 80’s Twin Cites-style madness, only to wallow in a Sic Alps slush for a bit, and then hammer it out through an aggressive ending. If yer gonna’ hold onto this sucker, this track is prolly why. But even for a guy with questionable taste like me, I’m having a hard time finding hooks to cling to in the rest of the stuff...the 3-D bug on the cover really does works tho’. Eeww. Guaranteed to be a dinky-ass pressing, so if you hanker for the neverending whistle in yer brain…act fast! (RSF)
(self-released // myspace.com/thegirlsofadultfilm)

The Gooeys "Scary Black Cherry Nap" 7"
Heavy-on-the-gimmick band from the Great White North. Super goofy, but they play it so far over the top it works, at least on the title cut where they throw every ounce of reverb and goop at their disposal on the track, including some mumblemouth vox delivered from the phantom zone. "Suspicious Hunch..." is at least fun despite the annoying title that I'm not even going to type out in full. B-Side is a little less campy, with one mid-tempo organ grinder and a dance number for sloths to close. This one should be of interest to all of you wishing Scooby Doo and the Gang had cut a record. Damn pesky kids. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Mammoth Cave Recording Co. // www.mammothcaverecording.com)

Golden Staph s/t LP
Surprisingly splendid LP effort from Perth's Golden Staph, a band who I recall from mentions in NGL but had never really heard until these twelve inches passed under the needle. Female singer does a wonderful job, recalling The Avengers dynamic, the organ does a swell job of staying hidden and jumping out only when needed, guitar player has some chops and lets loose with some unexpectedly choice solos on a couple tracks. For the most part Golden Staph play it mid-tempo and slightly dour, taking post-punk cues and mating them with punk force when emotion calls. Perhaps a Siouxsie & The Banshees vibe, if they existed in the early-Eighties Los Angeles punk scene. They're at their best expressing desperation ("Riding") and isolation ("Sweaty Search"), "Cesspool Dream" really lets the gal show off her pipes quite pleasantly against some angular guitar vs. organ interplay, "Dr. Tony" is the axeman's show as he rips off some great leadwork and they end with great energy on "Yung Lung". Very listenable as a full length, recorded quite well and doesn't linger for too long. Only one or two songs fade into the background, but the rest show off a talented young bunch that recalls the UV Race's camraderie. The internet has hinted that this outfit might already be kaput, but I'm sure that means they'll fulfill the promise they show here with some other bands.(RK)
(RIP Society // ripsociety.blogspot.com)

Gun Outfit “High Places” 12” EP
Although I was aware of its existence, I’ve thus far managed to avoid the cult of Gun Outfit. It was a name I saw pop up a lot, with high praise from folks with great taste, but for whatever reason I never bit and had no idea what was in store when I got this one. The obvious tag —and my first thought— was that it had the look, feel, and sound of a Dutch East India distributed release: post-punk guitar rock that would fit well on many of the free-form or college radio stations that I’ve known. Coming back to the EP over ensuing weeks did not shake that impression, but there’s probably more depth here than might be implied if I left it at that. Unlike many who mine the same territory, there’s no real sunshine with Gun Outfit. No, this feels more like chugging cough syrup, vocals and guitar solos drawl to punctuate the mood of the dreary Pacific Northwest. (DH)
(Make-A-Mess Records // makeamessrecords.bigcartel.com)

Hammer Damage "Laugh" 7"
Sometimes you see KBD-era singles reissued and think to yourself that you've already played that song to death on KBD volume whatever, and have both sides of the single spread across a couple of comps... and decide maybe you don't really need it. Big mistake, pal. In particular when having these songs in their original format, with artwork and all the presentation that comes along with it, makes you re-evaluate and perhaps widen your appreciation of a killer or two you might have been taking for granted. This was the case for me this go round, as I always liked "Laugh" well enough, but now I fucking love it. Total action-punk with hooks and snot, a pretty incredible solo and a fantastic chorus. Killer breakdown at the end as well. The definition of KBD ripper. "Automatic Lips" is one of those B-Sides I hear people talk down about. And it's a bit fruity, for sure, but has a dumb and endearingly wimpy power-pop thing going on that's half Cars and half Zeros/Plugz (in their slowest and corniest moments). The definition of a grower. For the new guys out there, Hammer Damage were an offshoot of Rubber City Rebels (or maybe vice versa depending who you ask - and who did a far inferior version of "Laugh" on their LP), and also donated a member to post-Cheetah era Dead Boys. Packaging is of course recreated beautifully, from the sleeves to the labels, and sounds great, as is the standard for Last Laugh product.(RK)
(Last Laugh // www.lastlaughrecords.us)

Hank IV "Bellyfull of Slugs" 7"
I've never fully fallen under the Hank IV spell as many of my peers have. I respect the Ickys pedigree, and I certainly enjoyed their LPs a bit, but I just never became as engrossed as some. Why, I do not know. I feel like seeing them live would make a difference somehow. They take the rarely utilized "cover song as A-Side" approach on this one, and it's a rousing version of the Kim Salmon number, plucked from the swamps of Oz and given a lurching and droning NorCal signature. The guitars buzz beautifully and the lyrics are spat with the utmost disdain for their target. Truthfully, this might be the best thing I've heard them do, even if it is a dick move to tell a band that a cover is their best song. "Gold Equation" is a propulsive B-Side number that's kinda fast for some old guys, nothing fancy at all but certainly a bit smart and a fitting example of their cagey veteran rock. Soriano and Lax dig em enough, two guys you can certainly trust, but I'm still not getting it. I'd say I'm too young to dig this, but I'm an old man in my own right. Ya got me. Superfans should scoop this up, fence-sitters like myself might want to give em another shot here. I feel obligated to keep trying. Scum stats: 330 copies.(RK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

The Happy Kids s/t 7”
Semi-precious plinky-plink electro-garage. Rocks more of a euro-trash R&R aesthetic than the Volt or Alien Sex Fiend worship I expected (but that’s in the mix as well). Hints at the simpleton sounds of K Records, only being funneled through Quintron or Suicide. The B-side shows they got their Kinks/Cramps riffs on correctly. Austrian, but smells of France or Italy in the early aughts. Cute. Too cute. Oh well. Someone will want it. Thick ass vinyl, sheathed in a heavy cardboard sleeve. 300 of ‘em suckers. (RSF)
(Trash Rock Productions // www.trashrockproductions.com)

Hatefuck s/t 7"
The pre-Pink Reason (and post-Hell on Earth?) outfit of Kevin Failure as documented in an extensive Negative Guest List oral history, HFK were apparently as much a gang as they were a band. Or more. "When Time Takes Over" is hard to describe - a burly sort of weird rock song that I think derives more influence from shit like Crucifucks and Kilslug than anything, just a creepy drug-rock vibe that might have some metal in its blood as well. Visceral vocals, recorded at a practice I imagine. B-Side has the hardcore intensity I was expecting, "Hwy 10" tried to flip right off the track from the get-go but holds together somehow, "Little Girls..." is bizarro-riffing and the best song here for sheer nastiness. Dirty stuff they're slinging here, the guitar seems to be going for headshots only, repeat fire mode. "The Real Rock'n'Roll Letdown" is sheer aggro on the hot rails to hell. Obviously the source material isn't the best, but shit-fi is where it's at, and this is a good look into the formative years of the outlaw WI punk scene. A threatening and mandatory listen.(RK)
The A side - "When Time Takes Over" – is a long playing, mid-paced and moody fucker that really sounds like a “lost” Pink Reason track. Only there’s more of a nasally aggression and rasp to the Kevin’s vocals, akin to Rusted Shut or something/someone else…uh…Hatefuckable. The flip gives you not one or two, but three unearthed HFK table scraps to gnaw on. "Hwy 10" cranks up the ‘core right off the bat and coats the furious beating with a slurry of cough syrup glazed guitars. Shit. This sounds a bit like what Crazy Spirit is doing now or Cheetah Chrome MF’s did then. At least to my deafened ears. That kinda jab. Then "Little Girls" comes along…I seriously think this might be my pick for song of the year. Perfectly simple, shitstained, off kilter Pussy Galore-style riffage with busy drum fills. Just bad-ass backbone for the rubbed raw mouth stylings. Crank that fucker out. Possibly a one-take monster…and all the better for it. Ugly black leather rock. Last up is the title track - "The Real R&R Letdown" – and I’m not feeling let down at all, even if the mix is a tad murky. It’s back to the hardcore snot. Goddamn. I expected a decent archival release for the fanboys out there…but what we got was crucial. A few have been pressed. Goner gots it. And so does the Australians. Find it somewhere, somehow.(RSF)
(Negative Guest List // www.negativeguestlist.blogspot.com)

Head On Electric "Ghost Hunter" 7"
Nineties alt-rock revival of the the noisy variety from these Wisconsonians (Milwaukee?) who I've heard some good things about. This is their first vinyl appearance (not counting a split 7") and the artwork and packaging are quite fantastic - carboard pocket sleeves (which are recycled 12-packs upon further inspection) with super-detailed Blinko-esque artwork that is seemingly shellacked on the front after everything got a good coating of black spray paint. Genius move to put a band/title label on the top of the over-sized sleeves, as it sticks out for added visibility in a long box. Given the components, these sleeves came out looking incredible, looking more like a stand-alone piece of outsider art than anything (bonus points also given for not being sticky or smelling of spray paint). Now that I've raved over the sleeve, we should judge this on the merit of the music it aesthetically sets the table for. The guitar passages are certainly Sonic Youth inspired, during the quieter moments in particular. This sets up the louder bursts of what can only be called grunge rock - not far off from your Screaming Trees, maybe some Tad, a little Mudhoney, some Nirvana even. Emotive and fuzzy guitar work, vox sound particuarly Mark Arm-like, it's quite the epic - at least five minutes, with plenty of builds and breaks and a lengthy jam-outro. They only needed one side of this to get their point across. B-Side has a real nice screenprint on it anyway. I at least like what they're doing and their somewhat overblown/arty approach to it, and their upcoming LP on Dusty Medical seems like it will be worth investigating, as these kids obviously need a lot of room to maneuver. Scum stats: 300 hand-numbered copies.(RK)
(Terror Trash // www.dustymedical.com)

La Hell Gang "Just What Is Real" LP
It's always interesting to hear non-Americans take on Americanized tropes of rock'n'roll and see what comes through the cultural sieve. "So Much Better" really has them going ya-ya for the Stones. "Out of My Tomb" has a hypnotizing bass slide with Keef vs. Sonic Boom guitar ramble. "Fire Up" is instrumental guitar blaze that's equal parts MC5 power and Stooges heroin-skulk with a touch of Hendrix. "Just What Is Real" is their version of "The Pusher". Smoky guitar that will make your eyes water. "Left or Right" is the one moment of slight awkwardness in the vocals, the most modern sounding and least impressive cut. "I Think You're Wrong" follows with one-key sonar-beep locking into an acid guitar solo over an Asheton-brothers like rhythm. "Around Here" again approximates Stooges-sexbeat that grooves like nothing has since 1969. It ends with another epic, "It's All In My Soul", a tougher than leather biker jam. All the way from Chile, the best record I've heard approximate the best of Sixties/Seventies rock'n'roll righteousness than any actual North American band by not giving into excess. It sounds so fluid, no posing, no trying too hard to facemelt, but getting there on their own. Fucking righteous. Every piece of feedback belongs, every step on the wah pedal, every primal bone of rhythm. They even make one think of over-amped British blues as played by Yardbirds or Cream. They just destroy the entire Northern Hemisphere of rock. Icing on the cake: it's on Blow Your Mind Records, who say it should be played at "HIGH level". Testify and get a grip on this one fast.(RK)
(Blow Your Mind Records // myspace.com/lahellganag - get it through Academy)

Herds "Michigan" EP
Dark and agressive Midwest hardcore from Wisconsin's Herds, a band who play in this style with enough power and skill to get even a "garage guy" like me tuning in. I've liked their previous EPs more than a bit, but this one really nails it down as they slow things up just the slightest touch, but the riffs are the heaviest I've heard from them to date. Metallic chugging and breakdowns, vocals are tough as tar without sounding generic, which is a difficult thing to pull off in this genre. "Iron Mountain" is the opener and the perfect track, if this doesn't make you want to break off some pit moves you're either old(er than me) or lame. I love concept records, and this one really succeeds in all ways - aesthetically, musically and even lyrically ("TOR-NA-DO IN BAY CITY"). Each song is about a Michigan locale ("Detroit", "Bay City", etc.) and a disaster/tragedy that happened there - mine collapse ("THE EARTH FOUGHT BACK."), chemical dumping, tornado and so forth. Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Scum stats: 650 copies, with 100 on green vinyl.(RK)
(Residue Records // www.residue-records.com)

Homostupids "Strawberry Orange Peach Banana" mini-LP
America's Greatest Rock Band enter the year 2011 with the release of a mini-LP recorded in an actual studio with actual instruments on actual microphones. What a concept!? In all seriousness though, I think the general listening populace may be concerned with the 'stupids move to a studio and how it might effect their generally DIY lo-fi recording aesthetic. And should you be concerned? OF COURSE NOT YOU FUCKING IDIOT. These three men are not called America's Greatest Rock Band for no reason. They entered the studio with an obvious plan to dominate it, and they apparently succeeded. They used their studio time to revamp a classic in "R Companion" (or is it "Our Companionman"?), giving it some added length and girth. They recorded a couple of new favorites in "Wildman" and "Starman", both of which you've heard during their live set for some time now to great applause. "Night Man" is the most emotional tune they've run through the wringer yet, and it's an instrumental. "Cannon Fodderman" is one of the more interesting cuts here, as it shows yet another progression of the band into even deeper waters...making the simple seem complex, adapting their smash-n-speed formula into a more focused and powerful release, because, as all great bands seem to know, just when you think the fans want it faster that's when you give it to them smarter and slower. And these guys are a great band. They know. I do believe Side B is where the true genius shines through. Not content with just recording in a studio, these rock'n'roll giants actually utilize the entire studio itself - the parking lot, foyer, hallways, bathroom, the whole deal. "Beneath..." might be their their trademark song at this point in time, and this is the definitive version. All balls and with a completely shredding extended ending. The crowning achievement of this mini-LP. "Noseman" is a careful and taut variation of their aesthetic further showcasing their ability to rein it in yet still kick you in the dick. Then, just to remind you of who they are and how they got there, "In the Basementman" is a skull music pounder in the grand tradition. I don't want to give away any spoilers in this review here, so let's just say the ending reprisal of "Seawolf(man)" will have you leaving the theater with a smile plastered from ear to ear on your ugly mug. The feel-good record of the year and then some. The only bad thing I could possibly even mention about this is that I do wish they had gone with the idea to title it "Licensed To Ill". You can't win 'em all...(RK)
(Fashionable Idiots // www.fashionableidiotsrecords.com)

Hookers "Horror Rises From the Tombs" LP
The Hookers are back in business and are making new records...that are actually good! Their first LP in at least a half dozen years goes back to original formula Hookers Mk. I where they owed more sonically to Dwarves and Antiseen than Manowar or Krokus. Treble-heavy thrash-garage attack with plenty of riffage and squealing solos from Stoney Tombs himself. This is the record that could have followed 'Satan's Highway'. The title cut smokes (it's also on a 7" released last year if you've been sleeping) as do classy B-Movie rippers like "Don't Go Near the Park" and "Crypt of the Living Dead", and they even excel doing chuggy Southern-fried stuff like "25 to Life" and some NWOBHM-inspired numbers as well, including a cover of "Two Wheels". Tombs is one of the best axehands in sport when it comes to this kinda shit, rhythm section is durable (Weedian/Foolery) even if you can't tell there's a bass player through most of this, and the RNR Outlaw gives this stuff convincing metal flavor (and is what I wish Jeff Clayton sounded like sometimes). Well worth tracking down, and more metal (and punk) than a lot of shit posing as such these days...Scum stats: 500 copies only, with download that has bonus tracks in a nice touch (one of which is a Pentagram cover!).(RK)
(Green Mist Records // www.greenmistrecords.com)

Horrid Red "Pink Flowers" 7"
I sometimes imagine I like listening to Teenage Panzerkorps for the wrong reasons, and I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I just really enjoy the German vox schtick when paired with music I think I might not even be that into were it not for the whole aesthetic package. I guess why I like it doesn't matter so much in the long run. If you dig something, you just dig it, right? And I have no idea how serious these guys take themselves anyway. Horrid Red is a side-project from Bunker Wolf, and it's basically a kinder and gentler version of Der TPK, replacing the blown-out aggro post-punk with pretty slick sounding Eighties synth-pop. Title cut sounds like a German guy murmuring over a Cure instrumental, and it makes for wonderful and slightly skewed pop. "Banquet in Blue" is built on a more grandiose synth wave that washes over you like a gentle breeze. Quite gorgeous. B-Side is "Foehn Wind", and it creeps a bit more into post-punk territory via bass/guitar drive supplementing the watery synth sounds. Mellow and a bit subterranean in a Bunnymen way. A wonderful little record that might surpass some of the recent Panzerkorps offerings quality-wise. Scum stats: 300 copies, plus a cassette version of 50 pieces.(RK)
(Soft Abuse // www.softabuse.com)

Horrid Red "Silent Party" 7"
See above review, except a little bit on the darker side this time. Title cut is more A+ Teutonic Cure-worship and is startlingly danceable. Great wimpy guitar tone and a bass/drum rhythm that works wonders. "The Horror & The Cruelty" goes to Bunker Wolf's dark place. Sort of ridiculous but I like it. On the flip they slow it down for a a two-parter ("Marble Staircase") that's one half sparse synth-pop and one half atmospheric piano. I hope this guy dresses up in some sort of Klaus Nomi get-up when they play. I prefer the "Pink Flowers" single for sheer schtick, sounds like they're going for some stark avant-garde stuff here that I'm not sure I'm buying into yet. Scum stats: 300 copies, plus a cassette version of 50 pieces.(RK)
(Soft Abuse // www.softabuse.com)

HPP s/t 7"
Those of you bummed out over the cancellation of the HPP summer tour can take solace in this 7" EP, six cuts of slimy punk rock ripping. "Sexual Tension" has some Ginn-style fancy fretwork, the vox seem a bit more savage on this outing, the recording a bit cleaner and more powerful. Hard riffs abound, tempos blaze, you'd think "Sludge Love" would slow it down, but they wrap it around a pole instead. "Youth Gone Astray" again reminds me of some Annihilation Time, in both the band and Flag referentials. You can't ask for much more out of a hardcore punk record these days. I dig bands with logos too, that's some old school shit more people should think about these days. The Perennial label is batting at an All Star caliber clip and Olympia apparently has no shortage of interesting bands...(RK)
(Perennial // www.perennialdeath.com)

Andy Human "Toy Man" 7"
You know Andy Jordan from what seems like dozens of Bay Area retro-fitted rock bands like Time Flys, The Cuts, Buzzer and more. All bands that certainly had their moments. As Andy Human, Jordan recreates mid-80s New Romantic sounds in a new twist, instead of the Seventies genres his previous bands have time-warped back to. "Toy Man" has slick-synth dramatics and shimmering guitar work that is ripe for inclusion on the soundtrack to an unmade John Hughes coming of age film. "Center of Gravity" has more of a Nick Lowe rock'n'roll revival thing going on, and although I would've loved another dandy ABC-like number, it still has some deft guitar work going for it and a vintage hook. A-Side is a fucking serious winner here folks.(RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)

Human Eye "They Came From the Sky" LP
Far and away the best Human Eye record to date, and really the best full length Timmy Vulgar has produced since the first Clone Defects LP. I say this to try and make you understand how fucking great this record actually is, because almost every record he's created throughout this stretch has been good-to-great, but 'They Came From the Sky' is just that phenomenal. Science fiction and rock'n'roll haven't been combined this successfully since the heyday of Hawkwind, and speaking of the kings of space rock, Human Eye barrel through the universe sounding more than a little like them these days, except propelled by a drummer so good he must be an alien, Vulgar's most searing guitar work to date and Jonny Lzr taking the songs to the next level Dik Mik-style with an array of synth squeals and oscillations. They sound like true masters of the universe here, even Vulgar's vocals seem to have something extra to them. On top of all the space-rock, this thing is also punk as hell, with tracks like "Brain Zip" and "Junkyard Heart" as searing as they are otherworldly. The four-song A-Side is about as perfect as they come. The B-Side goes B-Movie for a couple of tracks, "We Are The Peopleoids" is a theatric epic that sounds a little Alice Cooper Band-esque and "The Movie Was Real" is more HG Lewis than HG Wells and has the darkest vibe on the LP. They close with the title cut, a battle for the earth against rubber masked martians, Vulgar chopping them down with guitar sounds ranging from laser to vacuum cleaner, Lzr's effects sounding like the alien from Predator singing back-up and Hurricane Hafer putting on a fucking drum clinic. The track ends abruptly, sucked into the very black hole they created by distorting the space-time continuum with such unheard of acts of musical heroism. An insanely great LP from what might be the most potent live band on earth as of this writing. Absolutely incredible. And the most unnerving thing is that if you see them play live, they somehow sound just like the record. It's frightening, really.(RK)
(Sacred Bones // www.sacredbonesrecords.com)

Hungry Gayze "Roadkill" 7"
Snotty and simplistic offbeat garage moves with that Floridian attitude cultivated by Rich and his Florida's Dying army, which is equal parts drug-damaged, who-cares drunk and just genuinely weird all at the same time. "Road Kill" has a fantastic synth squeal that is just short of being annoying that plays over a hypnotic backbeat, some guitar frying and chanted girl vox. A little bit Electric Bunnies-esque and bizarrely catchy. "Pins & Needles" is a bit straighter, a brazen stomper with a swirly little hook and the gal's whiny/nasal delivery really starts to grow on you. B-Side stretches out a bit more, "8th Grade Haircut" switches to dum-dum male vocals and rides an eerie organ current, it almost sounds like a Spits 45 played at 33. Love the primitive drum breaks and the shreddy guitar solo. I liked this a lot more than I was expecting, it's stupid and fun, but not in a pizza-party way. I was sort of surprised this one wasn't on Total Punk. Features members of Shit Eagle, Slippery Slopes and Stud Dogs. Scum stats: 350 copies only.(RK)
(Florida's Dying // www.floridasdying.com)

The Hussy "Cement Tomb Mind Control" LP
Best band going in Wisconsin right now? I've dug their work on singles so far (and the Little Slutzz side-project), but they distance themselves a little further from the folk and bubblegum sounds that seem to be a dime a dozen in WI these days here. Trickdick says they're the best band from Madison since Killdozer. Could be right. But the who the fuck else is from Madison anyway? In the past they honestly reminded me of The Drags when their girl/guy vocal give-n-take works really well and wild, and they also bring to mind first-wave Ripoffers like the Statics, Spoiled Brats and others, but with more chops and less cartoons. What I really love here is they remind me of when Wisconsin was a hotbed of garage-punk, and the title of the LP even pays tribute to the Catholic Boys, who were the head of that class. They blow through some Oblivians-esque cuts, some Sexareenos-ish party dancers, and really find their footing on "Demon Claus". The B-Side wades deeper, with some more detail in the songwriting and less debts to the Crypt roster. "Oh No", "Lymes", "Have A Say" are just straight rock'n'roll that I believe even the mighty Richard Adventure would approve of. Bobby plays a mean guitar and you'll never remember they're a two-piece as these recordings sound loud and full and leave nothing lacking. Twelve cuts, with only a few duffers and a good bit of attitude that will please any card-carrying garage turkey. A lot of records from WI have bummed me out lately, and this isn't one of them. Bonus points for playing at 45rpm.(RK)
(Slo Fizz Records // www.slofizzrecords.com)

Hygiene "Public Sector" LP
After repeated sparring with this LP, Hygiene have me putting one foot in their direction in my never-ending comparison between them and The Pheromoans. The bands aren't really that far apart, but Hygiene have that extra bit of hooligan-esque thuggery to them that I find myself enjoying more and more with each listen. Blunt yet angular somehow, maybe more Wire than The Fall. The JG Ballard of today's Brit-punk set, a musical commentary on the decline of the Empire. Goony vocals camouflage the intelligence a bit, but you can't help but notice the brilliance in their brand of what has to be called post-punk, but really makes you think what post-punk even means anymore. The lads belt out ten songs about O-Levels, postal buildings, office jobs and other mundanities with acerbic wit and bullying glares. "A Passion for Administration" sounds like the fuse of a timebomb, "Done Before" is the perfect distillation of futility and frustration. Bored of being bored. "O-Level Girls" is a great ham-fisted ode to the ladies. "National Front Tea Party" is razor-sharp and wittily absurd. There's not really a misstep here. The punk parts slash with fervor and are tempered with just the right amount of UK-DIY to insure you don't accidentally think these droogs went to art school or anything like that. Menacing in its combination of brutishness and brains, an enthralling aural documentary of life in modern day England. Very highly recommended.(RK)
(Le Vida Es Un Mus // www.lavidaesunmus.com)

Ilsa Y Los Antiheroes s/t 7"
Spunky Spanish girlie-rock, borderline pop-punk with some slight Budget Rock attitude in the loose playing. The girl's vox are a real deal breaker though, just tuneless yapping and the songs themselves aren't anything special. Standard Ramones swipes and C-grade Lookout-style "punk". A merciful edition of 101 copies.(RK)
(Blondes Must Die Records // www.blondesmustdierecords.com)

Impo & The Tents s/t LP
These guys just barely missed out on the Worst Band Name of 2010 competition, but don't worry fellas I'll keep you in mind for this year's trophy. Pop-punk and garage-pop from these Swedes outta the burg of Stockholm. They really pack 'em on this thing, sixteen songs over two sides, all sung in damn good English with medium-fi production. Nothing fancy, clean guitars, upbeat rhythms, some too-cute-for-their-own-good tracks, some iffy attempts at "jokes". They do alright for what they are. Even some surprise raunch on "Eat Her Out" and a couple tunes turn gritty in a Reigning Sound way. You could do a lot worse when it comes to this lighter weight class. I might never listen to it again, but maybe some of you gals will...(RK)
(Alleycat Records // www.alleycatrec.com)

Impractical Cockpit "Pretty Totally" LP
2001 cassette-only release remastered and vinylized by the good Germans over at Unwucht Records. Technically the band's second LP, they went on to release six more throughout their career, mainly self-released with a pit stop on the Load Records roster. For a band to be on Load I think says something...maybe that they are at the very least uncompromising in some way. IPCP certainly do not make music for the masses. At their base they adhere to the principles of bands like Flipper, in that they owe nothing to structure or "normalcy", preferring to sludge about in the nether-realms of dirge-rock, never sounding balanced. A perpetual pile of junk ready to topple over at any time should one instrument lean too far in one direction or the other, which often occurs. Constantly lurching, rhythms doubling over themselves whenever they perhaps accidentally find themsleves in too much of a groove. Drum kits are made to be smashed, especially when they seem to be made of garbage cans, scrap metal and driftwood. That they summon locomotive force at times is a testament to just a sheer force of will. The odd syncopation somehow seems random, but has to have been thought about in some way. Recorded totally live, the only way these heaps could possibly be birthed. Avant-Buttholes moves but without the comedy. At times they sound like the tightest improv band in the world, at others like the scariest post-punk band ever. Guitar and bass slip in and out of tune, perhaps they're playing in odd time signatures or tunings, but I imagine it's that they really just don't care. It makes more sense when you realize there is some foundation under the din, its just built with architectural disdain. "Old Sacto" sounds like the industrial hum of the best Swell Maps instrumental ramshackling. The rabid (and rapid) vocal delivery often turns lyrics to gibberish. And they do all of this without heaps of feedback or pedal frying. At times I'm thinking this could be the only precedent for Folded Shirt. One of the better bands you've probably never heard of or forgot about. At least that's how it went down for me. A scant yet probably sadly appropriate 295 copies, silkscreened in repurposed thrift store jackets rather fittingly. (Unwucht Records // myspace.com/unwuchtmusik)

Iowa “Stay Solo” 7”
Australian, downer heavy radio-rock. I guess they like late era Dinosaur Jr, but goddamn, this here reeks of enough modern grunge and alterna-wavers to make me not wanna’ complete the rotation. Stop it. Is this what Creed or Bush used to sound like? The second track feels more like a polite Rein Sanction. A step in the…uh, better direction…but still wrong, nonetheless. The accompanying press release throws around Sonic Youth, Spacemen 3, My Bloody Valentine, and Jesus & MC…all of which I don’t hear ringing through these grooves. Just the sound of J. Mascis' massive effects rack trying to get on a Coachella bill or some shit. BONUS CD: Don’t know about you folks, but mine came with a bonus track on CD that outshines the wax. Takes a moment to lift off, but at least it has some interesting bits sprinkled about the long passages. Kinda’ reminiscent of a Brad Laner Medicine/Bruce Licher Scenic dessert and drugs dream. Hey, there’s a bit of those said references shining through here! Finally. Sadly, this was considered the throwaway track. For shame. At least the green vinyl will look pretty as it reflects the sun. I’m gonna’ thread it up as my new rearview dream-catcher.(RSF)
(self-released // www.iowasounds.net)

Irony Butterfly “Oceanography” 7”
Second short player from this Bay Area fuzzy biker-psych outfit. They seem to have ties to the Wooden Shjips and that tends to seep into their waxy grooves a tad. Like if the Shjips had glam pop tendencies instead of going out for the long haul sprawl. Goofy name aside, here’s what’s up: The A-side rocks like Angus Young kickin’ back with the flower-y era Cult and giving birth to what seems to be a T.Rex outtake or some lost junkshop tune you spaced on purchasing some 4o years ago. A bit too fluttery to my ears (ha…butterfly…fluttery… ha), but what do I know about glam rock? I think Quiet Riot was better than Slade. It does offer some catchy twists that’ll probably speak to the inner ears of the Burger Records and Glitter Wizard fanboys around these here parts. Dudes who either surf, wear capes, or both. The B-side has more of the first singles crunch and heads firmly into the outsider scrapyard that Yonkers, Rep and other like minded goons proto-scuzz it up in (I like this more). Some keys chime in strangely and there’s searing solo stuffs to keep it interesting. This flip has me in its clutches. What else to say? Props to the band for not sounding or looking like everyone else in this bracket race today. This is the private press blog-fodder of the future. Does the artwork give off a Michael Hurley vibe or is it just me? (RSF)
(Little Pablo Records // www.ironybutterfly.com)

Skip Jensen "Spirit of the Ghost"LP
Man, even old Skip Jensen gets the deluxe full-color slick gatefold treatment from Red Lounge for his latest solo record. You'll of course know Skip as a Montreal scene fixture since the early Nineties when he was making noise with Scat Rag Boosters, through various post-SRB projects (Stack O'Lees in particular), his various records as a one man band (at least a half-dozen singles and such) and his stint as the first drummer in Demon's Claws. He's got a hell of a resume there. His latest solo full-length eschews the lo-fi OMB-stomp he favored in the past and gets a three piece band together for some studio recording. Skip's no newcomer to the blues-garage genre, nor is he a random Euro living out a Delta-blooze-punk fantasy, but he is a skilled writer and player in the style, as out of fashion as it might be. Very similar to the country-western influenced moments of Demon's Claws for the most, with a few Oblivians-style rockers mixed in and even some stretches of Howland-esque darkness, which I've never really heard from the Skipper before. A dozen tracks, well recorded during a few different sessions with a couple of winners in the batch (the last three cuts are actually the strongest, and sound the most like Bassholes). Nothing new here, just a good musician plying his trade.(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // www.redloungerecords.de)

Jungle Fever "Cryin' Blood" 7"
Three-piece girl-punk band with the token dude drummer. The artwork on this one takes the eyeball cut-n-paste aesthetic to new extremes, which turns my least-favorite modern album art trend into something that's humorously irreverant (to me, at least). "Cryin' Blood" is a surprisingly fast dum-dum punker I wouldn't kick out of bed. "Under the Bus" sounds like a faster/louder Donnas, but the B-Side falls flat with your standard generic Ramones cop. 500 copies total, with 350 on black and 150 on color as part of Windian's singles club.(RK)
(Windian Records // windianrecords.blogspot.com)

Kilslug "God's Funeral" 7"
Actual new material from Kilslug, two songs recorded in 2010. Who would've thought that would ever happen? "On the Rise" is glacially paced muck with an uncomfortable scale/riff, haunted by Satanic backing moans/echos which float alongside Larry Lifeless doing what he does best. You really can't beat it. "Human Sacrifice" gets pretty metal, with a heavy chunka backing chug and a death-wah lead that gives into a breakdown chorus/riff, sort of a backwards structure that puts you a little off balance and ill at ease. Larry's in great form here, regardless of how many OG members are backing him. A great band that really did no wrong, and still haven't. Don't forget Groinoids and Upsidedown Cross either. Do your fucking homework kids. Scum stats: a fiendish 330 copies with mandatory nun-themed artwork.(RK)
(Necro-Tone Records // myspace.com/necrotonerecords)

GG King "Two Track Party Pack" 7"
There's no LP that I'm more excited about the release of a this point than GG King's 'Esoteric Lore'. It's gonna be fucking great from what I've already heard of it. This two-songer is a great tease. "Day Turns To Night" is actually an old Carbonas tune that was never properly recorded, and it's a fucking hit. Up-tempo punk with a smash-pop hook that makes me realize how integral a part Greg's vox were to the 'boners sound. Under-rated or whatever, his punk near-slur works wonders. B-Side is a cover of the Ralphs' "Drug Induced State" that gives more of a hint as to what the LP sounds like. Eerie punk! Naw, it's not that trite, but really, the Halloween synth and guitar shred interlude are the sort of things that make GG King the best thing going in ATL right now. You can't get much more value out of a brief two-songer like this, it's worth every cent. Scum stats: top notch artwork, 100 on black/red splatter, 400 more on black.(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // www.redloungerecords.de)

GG King "Esoteric Lore" LP
So, in the eons this Termbo update has taken to complete, 'Esoteric Lore' has arrived and spent plenty of time on the Technics since I wrote up that little 7" above. This LP is everything I wanted and more. A real piece of work. Seventeen songs is certainly pushing the average punk rocker's attention span, but GG and his band fill it with enough twists and hooks to make it cruise by. I imagine the party line will be "sounds like Carbonas", but it really doesn't so much. Sure Greg's voice is there, and there's a definite abundance of catchy punk and trebly guitar charging that the Carbonas were excellent at delivering. The real difference here, and I'm not slighting Carbonas here, is that I feel there's a lot more substance behind these songs and the aesthetic as a whole. While I can't say this is exactly a concept record, there's a persistence of vision present here that really draws you in. It's an incredibly detailed project that takes on a life of its own, the creation of an obsessive compulsive mind. Subterranean vibes, dark but not oppresively so, with glimpses into paranoia, misanthropy, doom and gloom, backed against your standard punk tunes about girls, trying to pay the rent and other daily life bullshit we all endure. Fantasy backed with reality. There's a substantial metal influence, both musically and aesthetically. The intro passage reminds me of the beginning of a Sodom record and there are bits and pieces of metal culture strewn all over. Musically, a couple of tracks approach thrash/crossover styles, there's a hell of a lot of riffing, and Greg turns his vox gnarly to great effect on some of the heavier stuff. This owes a whole lot more to US punk and hardcore (specifically Californians like Christian Death, TSOL, the Rikk Agnew catalog) than the KBD/Europunk thing of the Carbonas. A different bird altogether from even the earlier GG King singles. It's an exhilarating listen, as there are few pauses or silences and the songs are all linked by soundbites/noise or simply just bleed into each other and you never know what's coming next - another punker, a creeping sludge number, some metal licks bent into a hook, a guitar thrasher...there's a little bit of tasteful and eerie synth work in the background, and a lot of string shred in general. Greg's backing band varies a bit from song to song (some are just Greg playing everything) and you can certainly tell it's his show, but there's no quality drop from the different set-ups. Recording is ragged enough to give the songs some character but is certainly not lo-fi. Even the lyrics are great. A total package with great attention to detail, the inner sleeve on this is one of those rare instances where the lyric sheet and accompanying art enhance your listening pleasure, giving added insight to each track. Gothic punk with some pop hooks, metal edges and hardcore attitude? People will bitch it's too poppy or not punk enough. Take it fucking easy. It's one of the more enjoyable records I've spun this year, one of those LPs where each week you end up with a new favorite track until you've run through them all after a couple of months. Because this will stay in the heavy rotation pile next to the turntable for at least that long. Recommended.(RK)
(Scavenger of Death // scavengerofdeathrecords.blogspot.com)
(Rob's House Records // www.robshouserecords.com)

Knife Fight "Hobbies" 7"
I thiought this was called "Hobbits" for a minute there! Oh, the hilarity! I feel like there's been a couple bands called Knife Fight before, but maybe I'm just thinking of Knife Crazy or something. These guys are New Zealanders and play in the garage-core style, i.e. shit production with high velocity and maximum slop. Credits say these scuzzbombs were recorded in 2008, but they sound timeless. Oblivians thump battling Dwarves intensity in a knock-down-drag-out pissing contest, plenty of wailing guitar solos flying about and a pounding rock backbeat. B-Side is two mutant rock'n'rollers in a vintage Crypt Style, A-Side is more of a Dirtys high speed rock revival. They ride these tunes pretty hard and should fulfill any need you have for by-the-numbers trash done without abandon.(RK)
(Aarght! Records // www.aarghtrecords.com)

Knifey Spoony s/t 7”
The short and sweet: A happy-go-lucky glob of Twin Cities influenced punk/hXc/indie sludge with some occasional metallic thrash riffage…but I dig that kinda thang. I’m an 80s brat, you know? Good fun mud-fi shit. The sloppiest Sub Pop record yet. Two out three of these tracks were on a cassette I reviewed favorably last year and I’m glad they pressed some of that up on vinyl, especially that wicked retard-o CCR cover of “Hey Tonight” on the flipside. Thanks!(RSF)<
(self-released // www.knifeyspoonyband.blogspot.com)

Korean Gut "Your Misery, Our Benefit" 7"
I find myself wondering if the name of this band comes from the phenomenon you might have noticed if you live in an area with a large Asian population where Asian men roll up their shirts to expose their gut, in some half-assed way to beat the heat I can only assume. Take a trip to Niagara Falls and you'll see a few examples, I guarantee. Title cut is a spaghetti-instrumental followed by a completely innocuous garage-pop cut. B-Side does away with the vocals entirely, with "The Creeper" leaning more towards the spy-theme genre and "Gingold" closes with a pretty decent Shadowy Men on A Shadowy Planet indie-strumental cop. I can't say I feel strongly about this record in any way, which is not really a good thing. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Mammoth Cave Recording Co. // www.mammothcaverecording.com)

Krang "Speed of Tent" 7"
Krang are the heavy-psych overlords of the current Alberta scene documented to great extent by Mammoth Cave, taking their cues from Comets on Fire, Wooden Shjips and the like. The presence of clarinet adds some personality, reverbed-out vox have some elasticity, they drone and step on the wah pedal frequently, as you might imagine. "Spirit Animal" is the heavier cut with a Deep Purple-style blow-out spacetruckin' end. "Speed of Tent" is the noisier piece with more up-tempo squelch and a Sabbathian riff. Decent, but not quite reaching critical face-melting mass. I will admit it's one of the better Albertian efforts I've heard. 300 copies with download.(RK)
(Mammoth Cave Recording Co. // mammothcave.tumblr.com)

Lakes "Winters Blade" LP
If I thought (perhaps incorrectly in retrospect) the last Lakes LP sounded like the Australian Pink Reason, then 'Winters Blade' paints him as the Cult of Youth of Melbourne. Sean Bailey is Lakes, and this LP is serious death-folk business. Dour vocals impart post-apocalyptic visions of secret rites, hidden suns, glyphs and decay. I just used half of the song titles as descriptors there - lazy, but factual. Booming military drum beats, dark acoustic strum rising from the smoke of funeral pyres, melodramatic lyrics and delivery...it will take you to the dark fantasy this guy is creating for himself. Hazy snow-covered landscapes, cryptic imagery, Norse folk songs delivered around the fire to weary vikings who have trudged across barren tundra to fulfill some pagan prophecy. I'm not big on this genre (or Death in June/Current 93, or LARPing, just so you know I'm a rube when it comes to this stuff) but it seems executed well enough. Recording isn't exactly slick, but it's far from the lo-fidelity of 'Solar Flecks' and mixed loud and urgent. Decipher the runes for yourself, and if you're into this pagan post-punk schtick, you're gonna want to slit your wrists in salute to this one. Scum stats: 300 copies.(RK)
(Inverted Crux // inverted-crux.blogspot.com)

Late Arvo Sons "Pretty Mess" 7"
Melbourne's Late Arvo Sons seem a bit of a different breed than many of today's Aussie imports. I feel like they're coming from a Nineties alt-rock angle, or perhaps adding a modern touch to borderline rawk (or plain hard-rock) bands of the turn of that decade (I'm thinking of a less engaging GOD in particular...or just guitar-driven Husker Du-ish rock in general), all drive and workmanlike propulsion. It's vaguely punk, with gravelly vocals (that summon a Leatherface thought or two...) being the truly defining characteristic. Hefty mid-tempo chig on the two B-Side tracks and the title track is a grungey slowburn. Certainly not as messy as the teeth, meat and hair on the sleeve make you imagine it could be. Fittingly stoic in that bricklaying Aussie way, but leaning more on force than actual energy, which I think makes it come up a little short in the end. A little too nondescript to be truly interesting amongst the cornucopia of Aussie bands available today.(RK)
(Up Yours Records // myspace.com/latearvosons)

Leaders "State of Shock" 7"
Northwestern synth-punk is still go, despite what you thought, and The Leaders are still plugging away at the genre. "State of Shock" is a bit more ragged and rugged than the standard Dirtnap band approach. Vox are agitated, synths are whiny, guitar chugs alongs nicely. But it's still synth-punk in 2011 bringing nothing new to the table. Name of the B-Side track: "Queso on Your Faceo". I refuse to listen to a song with that title.(RK)
(Import Export Records // importexportrecords-at-gmail.com)

Lenguas Largas s/t LP
One of the few bands in Tucson that doesn't include Ryan Rousseau, although I'm sure more than one of these guys did a stint in Digital Leather at some point. Also has ex-members of Shark Pants, Blacks (AZ), and Swing Ding Amigos, and if you recognize any of those bands you've really been paying attention to underground garage-rock the past few years. Or you live in Tucson, but that doesn't count. Everyone's playing the psych card these days, but I feel like Lenguas Largas are one of the very few bands who epitomize the tag to its truest definition. Their songs tend to have some weird Sixties psychedelic vibe, but warp it into something fittingly modern with post-punk stylings that sound organic instead of simply aping ghosts of future past. There are more than a few moments of flower-pop even, but taken down a dusty canyon or some stereotypically desert-referencing metaphor. "Lonely Summertime"? Sounds like some neo-hippie shit to me! And it's a good song! This guy has a really odd falsetto-ish vocal that reminds me of some burnout Sixties pop-sike vocalist. "No Me Gusta Le Pepsi" is overloaded with echo and aggro for the album's most rocking track. "I'm Goat" is a hiccuping piece of dark-pop. "Yardsale Heart" has an orchestral Tex-Mex baroqueness to it. "Cobra Command Me" and "Pinturas Negras" are the peyote balls-trippers. "Endless Sands" is the real masterstroke here, an Anglo-sounding epic of post-rocking that almost sounds spiritual(ized) as it phases across the desert expanses. Really sort of beautiful. A great album that's actually built like an album instead of just a band saying to themselves "hey, we gotta write a dozen songs for this full length. Go!" This thing shows some care for construction, dramatic sweep and thought out sequencing. Fucking craftsmanship. Like they used to make 'em back in the Sixties. "Psych" means more than reverbed-out garage. You gotta have your head in it too, and these characters make it work.(RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)

Lenz "Leaving" 7"
Another new project from the always busy Andy Jordan, whom we last heard as Eighties throwback Andy Human on a 7" that had some potential. Lenz digs back in the books a little deeper for a Sevenites glam/sci-fi sound, accompanied by Ray from Impediments (who have a decent LP out as well) for this two songer. Andy's vox fit the tunes snugly, with the A-Side giving off a modernized Roxy Music vibe, somewhat theatric but with a steady mid-tempo motor drive and space age keyboard noodling replacing the coked up energy. "Feeling" has a more solo Eno sound on the synth stretches and general moodiness and maybe a sprinkle of Bowie on the lyrics. A decent sampler of ideas, I thought the pacing was a little too frigid, but Jordan has enough talent to make me check back to see where this goes. I don't know if this is a full-time thing or Andy Human is the priority, but I guess being in multiple bands isn't an issue these days. In the Bay Area in particular, where it appears to be mandatory to have three or more projects going at once, and at least one with Jon Dwyer and/or Ty Segall in it. I'm just bustin' chops here...although I do think it would pay off more if some people just concentrated on being in one really good band.(RK)
(S-S Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Lieutenant s/t LP
Vinyl documentaion of this semi-legendary WNY band that played a handful of shows almost seven years ago and left a big impression on local punks. Members went on to bands as diverse as Lemuria, Resist Control, Gas Chamber and Running for Cover and this LP contains elements that would go on to color the sounds of all of those acts. Thirteen songs that roll by in under twenty minutes, defiant Rust Belt hardcore built on the foundation of the traditional 80's sound that made a return in the early oughts (9 Shocks-esque even), with some top notch guitar riffing, moments of metallic heaviness and breakdowns and no lack of energy, as every songs races to the finish line as fast as it can. A snapshot of a local band that I missed the first time around (I was most likely at a Blowtops show while this was all happening...) that becomes even more interesting considering that the members are some of the heavier presences on the local Buffalo scene right now, as far as show promoters, label bosses (Peterwalkee, Art of the Underground and Warm Bath) and all-around good dudes go. A locally seminal moment in time captured for posterity, but even non-local coremen should be able to dig this. Impeccably recorded and housed in attractively silkscreened and hand-painted chipboard sleeves. Even though I'm not 100% sure of the significance of the Mona Lisa art. Limited to 300 copies.(RK)
(Peterwalkee Records // www.peterwalkeerecords.com)

Life Partners "Music is Hard" LP
Life Partners have been at it for a half-dozen releases at least by now, grinding out records and carving out their little niche for the true believers. I don't think anyone who hears a Life Partners record would ever say they're a shitty band. They're a smart outfit, perhaps too smart at times, reflecting the New England weirdo hippie-slash-punk DIY scenes of Forced Exposure/Twisted Village and whatnot. Clever music for clever people. Or something like that. Anyway, Life Partners do plenty of things well: goony Gulcher-esque proto-punk, burnout folk-rock, lo-fi metal-psych ("Are We Practicing Tonight?") and honestly their best tunes come about when they just sound like a really really good bar-rock band playing some cooking originals. They do some bad shit too. The title track is a bit funny but almost becomes an SNL skit. The vocals get a little too wacky on a few of the tracks, but at least the lyrics are good enough to make you forget their few sins. It all gets a little snarky after a side's worth, but they hit the target more often than not. Wayne Rogers twiddled the knobs for his Major Stars' cohorts here, so it sounds fantastic for the duration. If you've never heard this band, get the "AIDS of Spades" 7" and work from there.(RK)
(Ride the Snake // www.ridethesnakerecords.com)

Liquor Store "Yeah Buddy" 2XLP
'Yeah Buddy' has finally landed, and it's all you wanted and more. The premier party-rock band of today, this New Jersey five-piece goes overboard on so many levels it's borderline ridiculous, but they play with such confidence, authority, gusto, chutzpah or whatever else you feel like calling it, that it works. Everything about this band is excessive, and pefectly so, from the Skynyrd-esque three guitar line-up (which sometimes adds a couple more axes in the live setting I've heard), to Sarim's Gonzo-getting-strangled nasal vocal delivery, to the true blue bad-ass riffing and wailing solos, to lyrics about wookies, lifting weights, Arnold Schwarzenneger, doing drugs, drinking beer, beating off and whatever else they thought of while drinking tall boys in the studio, it's absolute rock'n'roll excess the likes of which we haven't seen or heard since an afroed Handsome Dick Manitoba ruled the streets of NYC. One of the best ways I've thought of describing this is a bunch of Jersey dudes starting a punk band using Van Halen and Springsteen as their models. Even the explosive album intro is something straight off a Blue Oyster Cult LP. As American as it comes. There's zero amounts of pizza-punk here (although Sarim probably knows more about pizza than anyone else in the underground rock game today) and really no garage at all. FILE UNDER HARD ROCK. A throwback to when men were men and rock actually rocked. Cheap beer, cheap drugs, cheap TV, fuck the hippie bullshit. Hear those synth squeals? That ain't some cheap grab at being "psychedelic", that's just sheer bad-ass spaceship-blasting-your-city-with-lasers sounds. They type of shit that would make The Nuge proud. Even at it's most over-the-top moments (I think peak levels are reached on "Bud Lite Killers"), the sheer fortitude of the rocking keeps things from falling to pieces. They ride "Proud To Be An American Man" into the sunset, blowing dust in your face, leaving you to pick your dick up off the floor. In another time Liquor Store would be selling out arenas packed with jean-jacketed long-hairs smoking laced joints and shotgunning beers. The only band left who remember what rock'n'roll meant to guys like Diamond Dave, Nikki Sixx and Adny Shernoff. Have a good time, all the time. Rock'n'roll or death. Long live Liquor Store. Scum stats: undisclosed amount of copies in circulation, but whatever the figure is, it's not enough. Test press version was available for true fans, CD version available for amateurs. Features "too hot for MRR" cover shot featuring the lovely Vanessa Blue.(RK)
(Almost Ready Records // www.almostreadyrecords.com)

Logjammers s/t EP
Psychic extrapo-fiction installment #69: Sounds like Shoot It Up stumbled their way through the bathroom window of Gai’s practice space, where a street punk bassist jogging through the first Nuggets comp was smoking something that tasted like gasoline out of a butternut squash, and just wanted some company. Needless to say, it sounds fucking great. Three hits for fans of the Grabbies as well as that new Clevo troop Bad Noids (whom I’m guessing you haven’t heard, computerboy) and (other) American comedy. (BG)
(No Patience // www.nopatience.org)

Lognhalsmottagningen "Fina Nyanser I Nya Finanser" 7”
Holy fuck, this record. I’m tempted to do one of those ultra-obnoxious “This is what punk should sound like” spiels, but I’ll spare us both and just say that This is what punk should fucking sound like. I have no clue what they’re saying and I have no idea how to pronounce their name, but I do know that the drums are recorded so perfectly it makes me want to cry. The snare just thwacks you in the face with every hit, the bass has a great gnarly, dirty, but not too distorted, tone, and the guitar coats it all in a glorious sheen of treble. The singer rants just right and I dunno, it’s just really goddamn good. The only thing I can make out on the insert is that they lift a “melody” from the Young Identities’ “Positive Thinking.” Hey, great artists steal. But it’s “Nya Lognhalsar” on the B-side that makes me want to jump off a building in pure ecstasy. I swear it’s one of the best punk songs of the last few years. The weird thing is one of these dudes was in Boyracer or something? There’s a Slumberland connect. I love this record. Buy it.(EEK)
(Local Cross // www.localcross.com)

Los Llamarada "The Restless Night" 7"
Los Llamarada were a pretty big deal back when SS "discovered" them, and then a couple of LPs and a single later they seemed to fade into the sunset...or maybe I just zoned out and stopped paying attention. Whatever the case, I'm glad to be reminded they're out there. Title track sounds pretty satanic, a gurgling pit of evil synth-psych with an angry vocal and lumbering rhythm. Nearly Chrome-like in its creeping. I guess it's a cover of an Argentinian rock song I'm sure I've never even heard of. "A Current" barely lifts off the ground, just them toying with a hard rock riff, minimal drum smashing and dual vocal ramblings/wailings. Dark and heavy times in Monterrey from the sound of this single. 500 pressed.(RK)
This band perplexes me. I thought they were fantastic live a few years ago, but their records never quite get there, that place they found in a dark moist basement of a bar. This single is a perfect example. The A-side is a formless rant that never quite coalesces into anything very interesting, because of, or despite of, its murkiness. You decide, who cares. The flip sounds like a really drunk bar band barely jamming on a blues riff going nowhere. I feel like this is a good band, but you wouldn’t know it judging by most of their records. I’m waiting for that next moment…(EEK)
(sS Records // www.s-srecords.com)

Lover! "Home Alone" 7"
Windian continues to swiftly bulk up their catalog here with help of the ever-prolific Rich Crook, whose band Lover! I will have to write three reviews of for this section by the time it's done. I'm starting with this single first, because it seems the least daunting. I believe the line-up of the band has solidified with Billiams being the full-time drummer, Wes from Clone Defects and A-Ron (Baseball Furies/Dirges/Outer Minds) on guitar/bass, and Zach from Black Beauties and other Chicago acts filling in on whatever else is needed. He could be playing organ here. Maybe not. "Home Alone" is your standard Crooked pop song. B-Side is the treat, a buzzsaw punker called "In Death" with added teeth to the blade on the searing solo and some vicious lyrics/vox. Great song. If you've been keeping up with the releases thus far, why stop now? Scum stats: 500 copies total, with 350 on black (50 of these are a spray-painted Euro tour only cover) and 150 on color as part of Windian's singles club.(RK)
(Windian Records // windianrecords.blogspot.com)

Lover! "Lost in The Shuffle: The Singles Collection" LP
The bound-to-happen compilation of the first 7.5 singles from Rich Crook's Lover! comes to us from Red Lounge Records, a label that does not skimp on the packaging. Heavy wax, liner notes from Todd "Toddy Thunders" Killings, and a slick gatefold that has the covers of all the records inside, which when looking back featured some of the best (the comic book ad appropriation of the Rob's House 7"), worst (the Hot Topic goth aesthetic of the Iekk! Sounds 7") and most ridiculous (that "Booger in My Asshole" sleeve from the LFD split) art of the past couple years. The appropriate title is something I'm sure I've said in countless reviews from 2007 and 2008 - these singles were certainly not given a fair shake on their own due to the sheer amount of them. It's obviously the problem with being as prolific as Rich has been, pushing records out with Childish-like tenacity. I almost wish I hadn't kept up with the onslaught and had a chance to hear these songs in one batch like this, as there's a likeable personality in his Southern Gothic pop style, and I seem to enjoy the stuff he home-recorded on his own in comparison to the full-band line-up. I think the best of his catalog is right here: the first SSLD single that still sounded like Knaughty Knights, the weird-pop stylings of the "I'm Not A Gnome" 7" and my personal favorite "Foxhole Madness". There's a lot to dig, from Stonesy rockers, mellower popsike almost-ballads and straight garage-punk. I'd feel comfortable with this as the one Lover! record in my collection if push came to shove. One thing I would've liked is liner notes from Rich himself talking about the tracks or at least lyrics, as I imagine there are some good stories behind the songs. Rich always seemed like the type of guy to let the music do the talking though. Also, the track listing on the sleeve is totally wrong, making for unecessary confusion. Anyway, sell off the singles if you have to and invest in this.(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // www.redloungerecords.de)

Lover! "Reverse The Curse" LP
Lover! is no longer just Rich Crook all by his lonesome down South. He's relocated to the big windy city and assembled a band of more-than-capable musicians (including a couple Baseball Furies, some Outer Minds, a Clone Defect and a Black Beauty) and made a record that you could spend an hour interpreting the sleeve imagery of. I'm guessing the theme of 'Reverse The Curse' is a new beginning (perhaps referenced in the boiling/burning of his past LPs) via exorcising demons of the past and remembering departed loved ones (as depicted via the ghosts in the gatefold). The music itself certainly takes on a fuller sound with the added members, and also has a sentimental and nostagic mood expressed via energetic Sixties-influenced pop full of organ, vocal harmonies and clean guitar sounds ringing through. "In Death" is the best and punkest song here (which is on the recent Windian 7", the A-Side of which also appears here), "Do I Really?" has the biggest hook and a great solo, and you get a half-dozen more on top of these. It's a mature rock'n'roll record, and sadly not that engaging for more than a couple tracks. Honestly, I was more interested in the art than the actual music. Great looking gatefold though, this Red Lounge guy refuses to produce an ordinary looking record.(RK)
(Red Lounge Records // www.redloungerecords.de)

Low Life "Sydney Darbs" 7"
I tried to talk the Low Life cassette up as much as I could - fantastic animosity from Australia, it was super-aggro even by Oz standards. Apparently NGL liked it a bunch too, which leads us to the 'Sydney Darbs' 7", that just gets right down to business with "Atomised". Sheer aural assault, fleshpeeling guitar, hatred-spewing vox, earthquake rhythm section - real streetcleaning shit. "Rewire" retracts the venom a bit but operates in a more neanderthal-like fashion. Blunt and rather rude. "Submission" kicks off Side-B (and your dick) with more of that skinflaying guitar sound, I think the first lyric is something about "old cunts" - real anti-human sermonizing that I can get behind. This one barrels along like a beat-to-shit pick-up blazing down outback roads, shooting guns at anything that moves. A legit corker, great lyrics included. "Down Under" closes up shop, and it's a fucking black hole. Exceptional. I feel like these guys are the closest thing to an Aberrant Records band I've heard in modern times, and they add a bit of NYC-scumrock filth to the proceedings. Even the lyrics are top fucking notch. I feel like taking a shower after a few listens to this. Watch out for their 'Doggin' LP in 2012. I know I will be.(RK)
(Negative Guest List // negativeguestlist.blogspot.com)

The Lowest Form s/t 7" EP
The Lowest Form with a 7" on Low Recordings? Well, the band runs the label, so we'll give them that indulgence, and it also says something about where their heads are at. Powerful hardcore (is powercore a genre yet?) from the UK that takes blast-beating tempos as a starting point (the 35-second long "Crack" or the slightly longer and more intimidating "IamthatIman") ) but then stretches out into savage runs of muscular Siege-like punishment on "Trip II the Moon Part 6" which is as good a modern hardcore ripper as you're gonna get. "Infinity" sounds like them feeding a riff into a meat-grinder with a short break for lockstep pit moves. Singer is a couple missed doses of medication away from the straightjacket, guitar player is a wizard of blurrily crackling fretwork, bass sounds like a stungun. UK thrashers emulating Japanese hardcore? Whatever you want to call it, it's done well.(RK)
(Low Recordings // available via the fine gentleman at www.lavidaesunmus.com)

Mahonies "Eat'em All" 7" EP
10-track 7" EP from Detroit-based super-dumb punkers with ties to Terrible Twos and Liquor Store. Metallica tribute sleeve hints at some of the hot lixx involved, and the songs aren't as pizza/hot dog punk as the sleeve also suggests. Reminds me of a more well behaved Shoot It Up at times, all treble-heavy guitar and shitcan drums bouncing off the walls. Inane ramblings about shoplifting, ZZ Top, losing your keys and other dumb shit. More goofy than angry, they drop a couple f-bombs and drug references, but it's pretty friendly overall. Closer to the gonzo-rock of LS than the weird-punk of TT if you're checking references. And I do like it better than their first single.(RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

Manikin "Keep Dancing Charlie" 7"
Haven't heard from these Austin post-punkers in a bit, and according to the notes this is their sixth(!) release on Super Secret Records alone, meaning I've missed a few. Which happens, as I think a couple were CD only. But anyway, they've had a couple "hits" round these parts, in particular "The Search" and their more Warsaw-like dreary efforts in genre exercise. "Minority Rules" is a bit dancier in execution, not necessarily Gang-of-Funky, but closer to that animal than the starker JD sounds that were their better looks on previous outings. "Hole" has some coloring-outside-the-lines guitar playing that make up for the somewhat generic gangvox-over-martial beat construction. This band has a coupla tracks, but these aren't really them. Scum stats: 300 copies, 100 on red.(RK)
(Super Secret Records // www.supersecretrecords.com)

Maybe, Baby "Little Beerz" 7" EP
Teenage duo from DC playing peppy and poppy garage-punk which will make you think of Redd Kross in the most painfully obvious of ways (maybe it's just the balls-yet-to-drop teenage boy vox...) and wants to win you over with mounds of youthful exuberance and charm. Will you let them? You can see these two on the back of the sleeve, lounging in their parent's rumpus room surrounded by expensive gear and classic LPs by The Misfits, Flamin' Groovies and....Bare Wires. And of course the Nobunny LP. I think every eighteen year old kid in the US should have a copy of that by now, and rightfully so. If they're gonna charm you with this, "All I've Got" is their best shot at it. It employs their strongest hook and it should get to you before they start to overstay their welcome on Side 2. Good vocal too. They follow "the hit" with two more aw-shucks poppers, and close with goofy-punking. When I was their age I was sitting in a basement listening to Anthrax, drinking Piels and smoking cigs we stole from our parents. We probably could've made a record too, but we were fucking losers. So Maybe, Baby are one up on me there. 500 copies total, with 350 on black and 150 on color as part of Windian's singles club.(RK)
(Windian Records // windianrecords.blogspot.com)

Meercaz "Space Hate" 12"EP
Muzz Meercaz is really hitting his stride with this and the Sweet Rot 7", title cut is gooey proto-punk action marrying some dumbed-down (or up?) lo-fi rhythmic chug to space odyssey synth swooshes and bleeps for something like Hawkwind if they were on Gulcher. Great fuzz-step outro as well. "Moving At The Speed of Sound" has an evil Chrome-like underground Morlock-punk action to it with a sidebar of 'winded-out space freighter drift. Mix is pretty muddy, but Muzz's vox stand out clearly. B-Side comes back to this planet Earth for a heavy Seventies rocker ("Unbreakable Song") with a grounded riff and melodic bridge/break. A little pubby, a little glammy. "Hide" is a real rubbery Gizmos vs. Eels spinach blaster. Promising stuff from this three piece line-up that I fear is no more now that Muzz has moved to the greener pastures of the Bay Area.(RK)
(Tic Tac Totally // www.tictactotally.com)

Merchandise “(Strange Songs) In the Dark” LP
Fuzzy and buzzing synthetic drear-pop. An eighties New Romantic-style croon that lies within a shit fidelity gothic mud of guitars and radio chatter. Think Morrissey fronting some sort of early Telescopes attack while the shoegazers gaze at…uh, their shoes. The ugly music fights against the proper vocals like an 80 grit sandpaper. Occasionally, I feel as though someone scrubbed the backing tracks away from an (insert large major/alternative rock band name here) LP and decided to re-record the instrumentation in their makeshift studio/wine cellar. Industrial damaged and grinding meat guitars squelch all hopes and dreams of this selling in the mall shops along side other hit-for-now’s. A bumpy ride with plenty of melancholic tunes that should satiate the tribes ‘til Captured Tracks fires off another round. Or something. Fuggin’ weird. But I ain’t turned off. I kinda’ like it. Fey vox and all. Way better than a lot of loft acts we get handed. They got Cult Ritual ties?! Brain = BLOWN. (RSF)
(Katorga Works // www.katorgaworks.bigcartel.com)

Melting Walkmen s/t 7"
Rob seemed to like the Melter's 12", so I figured I'd give this one a shot. Very convincing and dark post-punk moves that can definitely run with the current pack of bands hanging in this cave. I'm thinking they outdo Manikin and could probably pal around with that Iceage band people are talking up on some message boards. Stoic stuff from these Danes, no idea what the song titles are, but they pace these three tracks perfectly, with deft bass-playing, a great watery guitar sound and superior British inflection on the vox for maximum effect. A-Side has two shorter and more lunging Warsaw-like tracks, B-Side has one Cure-like epic ride with a dueling bass/guitar leads and an absolutley desolate driving at night headlit tenacity and an eyeliner-running sad-n-angry outro. Really well done, and sans synthesizer, which I enjoy immensely.(RK)
(Mastermind Records // www.mastermindrec.com)

Mess Folk "This is Mess Folk...And More!" LP
I've drafted about three different reviews of this record over the past few nights, which is far more time than it really merits, but it's one of those records that has a lot of collateral damage happening around it in my mind. I was a bit disparaging of Mess Folk's HozAc 7" at the time of release, but I've since come to enjoy it more than a bit. I was experiencing some problems with the Hozac "genre" and a string of mediocre singles from various Alberta bands, which I think I mistakenly lumped Mess Folk in with as well. Hey, I'm not afraid to admit my semi-mistakes. There's just not enough time and too many records out there to give your ear to half-baked shitswipes and lazily inept home taping. Which Mess Folk do their share of indulging in. But there's some positive here as well. The A-Side is fulfilling, and I think the single tracks shine a bit more when surrounded by shit-fi pissers like "I Shit Blood". The entire A-Side seems to be from a tape of the same name as this LP. And it should be mentioned that Mess Folk is actually one man from the wilds of Nova Scotia, accompanied by an occassional drummer or extra guitarist. I think it's important to realize where lone gunman acts such as this emanate from, as it aids in appreciation when you understand the environment the music is created in, especially in such a personal context. And Nova Scotia is certainly desolate and from all accounts, a shitty place to live. It helps some of the dementia, drugs and violence agenda make more sense as a reaction to the surroundings. In that, I do think the A-Side works as a modern example of one-man-bandage, executed in rather eclectic style combining elements of punk, garage and the modern day bedroom artist genre. Recorded in various line-ups from 2008-2010, you get a feeling the A-Side is where the action is, and why that stuff has been released in other forms. The B-Side is far more loose and suffering in quality. Songs like "I Beat Woman...", which isn't offensive because of content, but because it's a (probably ironic) jazz-rock jam, are just bad news. And whenever this guy decides to incorporate elements of actual folk into the act, it just sounds like crap. There are more lame jazzy swipes, some go-nowhere instrumentals...some queasy garage rockers towards the end could make another passable single (the droning "Prostitute Love Affair" and mentally unstable garagers like "Nothing To Me"). Sometimes it comes off like a less talented Homeblitz (and I mean this as a compliment, as there are few out there as gifted as DiMaggio). Yet there lies the big difference - Homeblitz will be a band for posterity, an exciting and invigorating artist who is making music with substantial ideas and artistry advancing the decades-long rock music discourse all bands are a part of. Mess Folk, while I'm sure is investing time and effort into his craft (I would hope), seems just one of those fleeting modern listens. Some of it's certainly agreeable right here in 2011, but ouside of the time it was created in, I can't imagine it having legs. Not all bands are for the ages, some are just alive for today. There's nothing wrong with that at all. I love modern music and participating in the discussion surrounding it and bands like Mess Folk at least attempt to keep the conversation rolling.(RK)
(Bachelor Records // www.bachelorrecords.com)

Midnite Snaxxx "Like Lightning" 7"
The latest entry in the Tina Luchessi Budget Rock discography comes to us courtesy of the fine people over at Raw Deluxe Records, with a Loudmouth and a La-Teeno on the stringed instruments and Boom Boom on the traps. It's actually refreshing to see a Bay Area outfit sticking to leather-jacket-and-jeans basics and without a food-based or costume-reliant gimmick. Just play the damn music. Two songs, one side, "Like Lightning" is genuine power-pop with an uplifting hook and "Giving Me The Business" is my fave as it's a straight Nineties Rip Off punker that even Lowery would love. Like The Infections if they were chicks. Scums stats: 275 copies with hand-stamped labels and dust sleeves, 25 of which were a Budget Rock edicion especial. Sold out, bitches. Second press of 165 copies could still be available...(RK)
(Thee Raw Deluxe // letsgethurt-at-yahoo.com)

Midwest Beat "Back to Mono" 7"
Midwest Beat are at the forefront of the hippie-pop Wisconsin movement, taking elements of bubblegum, folk-rock jangle and power-pop to create songs for teenagers to listen to on warm summer days. Dreamy melodies and vocal harmonies, saccharine hooks and a little bit of '50s sock-hop-rock are the recurring themes here. Non-offensive and catchy enough, I found "Smile Like A Villain" the most interesting bit, as it's a slighty psychedelic strummer with some mushy guitar sounds. I suppose the rest is fine if you're into this sticky jangle-pop messing around. I'm not, but I imagine some of you ladies might be. Scums stats: 500 units, 100 on blue.(RK)
(Eradicator Records // eradicatorrecords.bigcartel.com)

Minivans "Shake My Shakes Away" 7"
The best band I've heard from the Lafayette crowd since The Mans. What happened to those fucking guys? Minivans are almost as trashy as those dudes were. No holds barred slop from members of Eric & The Happy Thoughts and Boy Toys, recorded by Richie Romance Novel, but not sounding like the AM-radio schtick of any of those outfits. Straight aggro-junk here folks. Garage-metal even. "Stray" is all fucking balls, maaaan. The riff'll slash yer face. "Come On Let's Go" is as simple and stupid as its title suggests. Outta control. "Southbound" kicks off Side B with style, showing off some chops underneath the noise. "Burn It Down" has a practically non-existent drum sound and Satanic guitar, I really think this is just a metal song in garage-punk clothing. Sick as death. You might want to say this sounds Rip Off-y, but Lowery would've never allowed riffage like this to slip through quality control. That's a compliment to Minivans, and no slight to Greg either. This takes garage-trash and sets it on fire. Scum stats: 500 copies total, 200 on green, 100 on gold with alt sleeve. With a big ol' insert probably pasted together during a heavy drinking session.(RK)
(Oi! the Boat Records // www.oitheboat.com)

Missing Monuments "Painted White" LP
King Louie has released dozens of records over his career, and I think I've heard them all. KLOMB, Persuaders, Bad Times, Kajun SS, a stint in the Exploding Hearts, and other outfits both recorded and not, have proven he's just as capable writing punk rock drug anthems as he is genuine power-pop hits. Obviously, a caveman like myself will always prefer him singing "I've Got A Drug Problem" to, say his work in Loose Diamonds (a record I dig on it's own merits), but I think Louie's understandably mellowing with age and I can accept that (even though that Brickwar record is some of his better recent material, and it's more punk than pop at its best). Missing Monuments are a straight rock band, a showcase for Louie's hook filled Southern fried power-pop that takes The Nerves catalog and invests some Chilton-esque boogie in it. It's pretty mature (I don't even think he curses at all here?) and mellow and should do well with Gentleman Jesse and Reigning Sound fans equally. Louie deserves all the accolades he gets, as he's written more good songs than most, and there's a couple on this record too. He also deserves touring with Paul Collins and any steps towards his music paying his bills that a widely appealing record like this might afford him. He can't crank out trash for ghetto-dwellers like me forever...and just when you think he's mellowed too much you hear him rip a killer solo on "Hot Class" and belt some lyrics like "Gonna get destroyed/drinking from your skull/Kajun blood and booze/bodies dead but moves" and you know he's The King forever. Scum stats: first 100 on white wax.(RK)
(Douchemaster Records // www.douchemasterrecords.com)

Modern Warfare “Nothing’s Left for Me” 7”
Well-overdue repress of one of the greatest California hardcorepunk singles. Title track is a tortured, slow exploration of the dirges of the human psyche, mongoloid vocals accompanying the excellent repetitive guitar flourishes. Kind of like a feral, artless Rudimentary Peni. The flipside is the real stuff though, totally raging quick hits stuffed with superb riffs and harmonies. The vocals get way snottier, the lyrics more poignant, the guitars somehow more ominous. Shambled destruction. This band gets a lot less attention that others of the Dangerhouse/Slash/Masque cartel, but for being from the same school and almost the same time (this was from ‘81), it is heads above most of what it rests next to. Really deranged guitar playing that’s like a more nuanced, less frantic Koro - rotational pits will open at the foot of your record player to the opening of “Suburban Death Row”, as the caveman inside all of us cannot deny its monstrous riff of super-treble & idiot 1-2 drumbeat. Ineptitude played to perfection. Great to see it reissued legitimately, now bring on the first single. (NG)
(Pederast Prophet // copsforfertilizer-atgmail.com !!!)

Mojo Hand "The Very Best Of..." 7"
Mojo Hand making with the funny here (or at least trying), writing originals called "Run With The Pack" and "Never Been Caught" (which cribs liberally from "Have Love..."), both of which are in The Statics league of complexity, but without the Zack Hoppenrath charm that made that band special. "Rebecca" continues the semi-inept budget rock feel that could actually sound like Brimstone Howl if they tried really hard to not try at all. They close with a cover of "Let It Bleed" that has me wondering if these guys are actually just a bad bar band or some garage-turkeys attampting to take the piss, as I originally thought. Either way, you don't really need to find out for yourself. Dead dogs inner sleeve is in poor taste, kidding or not. Yes, I am a member of PETA.(RK)
(Resurrection Records // www.getresurrected.com)

Mondo Ray "Hypnotized" 7"
"Pop-Garage-Punk" from Munich, Germany. Yikes. "Hypnotized" is two minutes of unremarkable RFTC worship. At least it's recorded with some punch and the singer doesn't have a bad accent. B-Side is mid-tempo pop-punk that barely has a hook, but does have some "Whoa-whoa"-ing going on, so they got something right. Or wrong, depending on your tastes. They even fade it out for further points off, and I can't even begin to imagine how whoever wrote the promo sheet thought this was reminiscent of The Scientists. Absolutely unremarkable, even for you pop-punk fans out there.(RK)
(Windian Records // www.windianrecords.com)

Moon Pool & Dead Band "Patsy" 7"
Members of Wolf Eyes and SSM combine forces for some old skool Detroit techno, which is all the rage these days. Shit man, I got no right reviewing this...but what the hell. I'm no authority on these genres, but this isn't House music as far as I can tell, I think the bpms have to be a bit higher for that. This is thick analog grooving, not frantic rave-style jerkiness, sort of Electro/funk for relaxing ass-moving dance moves. B-Side is the "Jack Ruby Version", which is an extended bump and certainly sounds like it was made in 1980-something. How's that for a totally unqualified review? I imagine this might shift units based on the Wolf Eyes connection alone. I certainly didn't hate listening to it, as it does sound pretty chunky, even if I have little to no interest in the genre. If "Party Store" is the first Dirtbombs record you ever heard, well this would be your Detroit Cobras.(RK)
(Cass Records // www.cassrecords.com)

Moralens Vaktare "Konsumera!" 7"
Scandanavian rock is back, and without all the Kozik artwork, MC5 aping and Southern Rock role-playing. They've decided it's time for punk again! This four-song 7" is their second (and a half), I think they sound more Belgian than anything once again, with a particular Hubble Bubble pop in their step for the title cut, second track is once again Kids-esque anthemic punk-n-roll. First cut on the flip is as catchy as buzzsaw punk can be with a great guitar solo and gang chrous. Sounds like it has some Raw Records influence. Closing track is tough city-punk, coulda been a B-Side track on the Raxola LP. I think I like it the best, as it has a bit of darkness on the perimeter. All lyrics in Swedish and not quite as exciting as their first 7" was but still noteworthy for Baddat for Trubbel fans. Comes with lyric booklet for all you Swedish speakers out there.(RK)
(Ken Rock // myspace.com/kenrockrecords)

Morbo "De Baja Calidad" LP
Peruvian punk rockers who made an appearance on the 'Brutales Matanzas' 12" playing it shit-fi and loose. Ten tracks in espanol played with minimum skill and maximum slop, singer sounds like a drooler, music is treble-based and a mix of the rockier of KBD sounds and first gen Rip Off Records. Not weird, just d-u-m-b. And after a few spins you realize it's not really that incompetent at all, even if they get a little haggard in their delivery. I can imagine them getting along well with The Grabbies or other PTBI bands, even if they don't seem as deviant and drug-fuelled as that roster is. I have no idea what they're singing about anyway. Sometimes they sound like a South American Gizmos even. Cheap thrills for you all you foreign junk lovers. 300 copies, ludicrous silkscreened sleeves.(RK)
(self-released(?) // www.morbosubte.com)

Mordecai s/t LP
Butte, Montana's favorite sons graduate from CD-R demos to the world of 12" vinyl on a label run by Ex-Cocaine dudes (I think) with spiritual guidance from a nutty Professor. Recorded in the shower at a YMCA (not kidding), it doesn't sound as preposterously echoed-out as that might make you imagine. It's actually a very solid recording, feet planted and all, and not necessarily of amateur-hour proficiency, but at an intriguing still-learning DIY skill level. Mordecai is the work of two brothers, Elijah and Holt Bodish, playing all the instruments with only a couple of minor instrumental assists. It's chunkily Swell Maps-ish at times, where everything starts to sound like it's all glued together into one heretofore unknown master instrument, just chugging along as a kid sings into a megaphone while his nose runs. A track like "Trough" melds American rural rock with Brit-post-punk styled discordance and usage of broken structure to actually create a serious rhythm. "Verolious" has killer loner vibes and some borderline nonsenscial soloing. Honestly, it's more than a little Lamps-sounding as well, but with more slop and less whallop. The last two cuts are from a different session and suffer from a drop in sound quality, but they do have a strange watery sound to them. The percussion sounds like someone slapping a side of beef, the guitars are submerged in a swimming pool and Holt sounds like he's doing his best tough-guy vox. I remember hearing their early demos that were filled with some of the most cacophonous Stooges covers I'd ever heard. Listening to this, they've made acres of progress, but still somehow sound like they haven't changed much. Maybe they've cut things up into neater chunks of songs and made some valiant attempts at verse/chorus structures, but at its base this record is just two kids from Montana doing whatever the hell they want, seemingly free from the meddling hands of modern trends, the internet, or other people in general. I think that's what excites me about Mordecai - remember when this is how bands started and evolved? They're doing as much as their skill allows and figuring things out as they go along. They don't seem to be striving to get on a hip label, not trying to get on a SXSW showcase, not trying to fulfill the typical chain of events that many bands today just seem to be role-playing without any sort of emotion or interest. Bands that just sound like they're satisified to be a momentarily cool band on some momentarily cool label, seemingly creating out of a need to be accepted into a peer group. It sounds like Mordecai made this record for themselves and no one else, which is how it really should be isn't it? It's not the greatest record you'll hear this year (although it does come very close), but it's one of the most alive things I've heard since perhaps the first Homeblitz 7". Real music from real people, not some clones wearing costumes, which is what I think of when listening to a lot of this modern bullshit. Real people? Real music? Sounds crazy, I know...(RK)
(Killer Tree // www.killertree.com)

Moscow Moscow "Hammer, Sickles and Girls" EP
Second single of novelty commie-rock from Moscow Moscow. A-side has two instrumentals in a surfy style that don't really have the chops to pull through. Not really sloppy in a good way, just rudimentary in an unexciting way. I keep wanting them to pick up the pace. B-Side has another pedestrian instrumental and an interpretation of "Food, Sickles and Girls" that isn't as funny or clever as they might think is. Scum stats: 100 copies on, you guessed it, red vinyl.(RK)
(Eradicator Records // eradicatorrecords.bigcartel.com)

M.O.T.O. "Kissing All The Wrong Asses" 7"
M.O.T.O.'s twenty-first single sounds just like the last twenty, go figure. The title cut features the unfortunate refrain of "You'll be living ass to mouth...", but maybe Caporino meant it as a smutty innuendo. He is fond of the potty humor after all. And I do like them better when every song is a dick joke. I still don't think they've topped "Catamaran" at this point though. All this being said, if you're a MOTO-believer, this four-songer will not disappoint in the slightest and should certainly sate your voracious appetite for goofy and hooky pop-rock. I've heard the live line-up now includes 100% more Count Drugula! Scum stats: 500 copies total, with 350 on black and 150 on color as part of Windian's singles club.(RK)
(Windian Records // windianrecords.blogspot.com)

Mouthbreathers "Anxiety" 7"
I was a bit apprehensive about this one...looks a lot like a Hozac flavor-of-the-month release, from the artwork to the color scheme. But the tunes are good, "Anxiety" in particular, which could be what Useless Eaters might sound like if the guy invested the time and effort into assembling a full-time band. Sure, they could be described as modern indie-garage; echoed vox, a little rough around the edges, but not too rough. But it's just a great song, fantastic up-tempo hookage with punk spirit, loud guitars and a perfect solo. "The Creeper" (not an Unnatural Axe cover) is the same formula slowed down to half the pace. These guys are from Lawrence, Kansas and I have no idea what other bands they were in or who they are. Which makes me like it even more.(RK)
(in the Red Records // www.intheredrecords.com)

Movie Star Junkies "In A Night Like This" 10"
I've always liked this band, despite the name, as I think they do their thing very well, which is some kind of Italo-version of Aussie swamp-rock or Demon's Claws-like rural-garage from an Italian farm. They're certainly not averse to comingling genres, which is admirable, and they execute their ideas with skill. A band with a bad name releasing a 10" is like the kiss of death (and funnily enough some of their best stuff was on a SPLIT 10" with Feeling of Love) but they give it a heroic go. Two songs per side, "Loneliness Like Clouds Above" is an ominous gothic-garage cut that is pretty invigorating, and they follow it with an evil country-tonker that sounds sort of sterotypically Voodoo Rhythm-like. They pick the ball back up on the flip with a dark neo-spy thing that sounds equally Morricone and Schifrin backed by another spaghetti move. Not too shabby, but I can't really recommend you needing to seek this out by any means as they get a little overly saucy and hokey here.(RK)
(Kill Shaman // www.killshaman.com)

Murder By Guitar "MBG" LP
Second full length from this Martin Savage project, the first was CD-only if I recall correctly and was a welcome departure from Martin's usual garage-punk/blues rehash. As you can guess from the band's name, this is guitar-based rock'n'roll with some stone-faced post-punk angularity and some, uh, "emo"tive flavoring in passages. Not too far off from some of the Danish K-Town sounds either, maybe a less wavey Vicious or in the vein of International Noise Conspiracy even, but without the hard posing. Not so much dark as it is melancholic in its heaviest moments, broken up by peppy danceable numbers and a few pop-infused tracks that recall XTC. As with most of Savage's (and much of Swedish rock in general) work it's heavily derivative, but this is still probably one of the more original sounding things he's done. Yet I still think his best record was The Humans 7" and its straight-up cop of the Black Lips style for some reason. This is simply mid-grade Swedish punk that won't have you putting away that Iceage LP any time soon.(RK)
(Jeetkune Records // www.jeetkunerecords.com)




To read reviews for records N through Z go here.
To read past reviews go here.


PREVIOUS PAGEHOMENEXT PAGE