Mindpower: A Misogynist's Compassion
...But Alive Bis Jetzt Ging Alles Gut G-7 Welcoming Committee This band has changed my entire view of European punk rock. I never gave this stuff much of a chance before. However, But Alive is one of the best punk bands I've ever heard, European or otherwise. They have an incredible groove throughout their songs with a German energy that is killer! The lyrics are in German and that makes it even better, cause the sound of the language works perfectly with the music. There isn't enough I can say about how great this band is. Great lyrics (they're translated in the sleeve), emotionally-charged vocals, wild cool guitar parts, funky deep bass lines, pounding drums, tempo changes and hooks keep this CD moving. Frankly, I should stop now and just tell you that if you are even remotely into punk rock (and this doesn't even do justice to the stylistic creativity of this band), this is the best album out there.
45 Spiders Standard Forms of Communication Deep Reverb This is slower indie rock fare. The guitar work is very relaxing, the music textured despite having standard rock instrumentation. The vocals are good for this type of thing- sung, not angry or whiny. When the lyrics demand anger, do they sound angry? No! Yep, this is all-right indie rock in my book.
ADZ Transmissions from Planet Speedball Amsterdamned Records I really hate to flat-out pan bands because I know these are guys just trying to make a living. However, I also feel it's necessary to warn you, the reader, of potential hazard spots. Well, this is your warning. This is a punk/metal outfit from California. You may want to listen to this before you buy it. Just a warning.
Agnostic Front Something's Gotta Give Epitaph This is a really good record that shows that this wait was worth it. The catchiest song is "Gotta Go," and this album goes over drunken Pogues bar singing for one track but it's mostly straight up hardcore with positive (as they can be) lyrics. Since these guys have been around for so long there is no pretense to the emotions on this album- be it positive or negative. Pretty accessible, so everyone should check it out.
Alison Faith Levy The Fog Show Magnetic This is nice balance of piano and vocals. Alison Faith Levy's voice carries itself with melodies in such an innocent, pleasant way without resorting to a little girl demeanor. I really like listening to her voice and the instrumentation that makes its way into the mix for an organic feel. It's a relaxing CD. You owe it to you to give this is a listen, as it's smart without pretension.
Am I Blood Agitation Nuclear Blast Records Benediction Grind Bastard Nuclear Blast Records Pungent Stench Praise the Names of the Musical Assassins Nuclear Blast Records EverEve Stormbirds Nuclear Blast Records This is the Nuclear Blast portion of our reviews. If you haven't read the reviews before, Nuclear Blast signs all of the loudest, fastest, heaviest metal bands out there. Am I Blood is my pick of this batch. They're hard and heavy but not overly so. They have some cool ass breakdowns and they're angry enough to satisfy the pickiest headbanger. Benediction and Pungent Stench are both speed/thrash bands. They're fast, loud and fast. They're also fast. Finally, EverEve is more of a progressive metal band. Their songs involve a lot of keyboards and they seem to take you on magical, metal, aural journeys. Let's just say the Ozzfest would crumble under the weight of the Nuclear Blastfest if they ever did one. My ears are bleeding.
Belle Acadme Shimmer Swingerland Records The guitar work reminds of the Pixies for some reason. This is female fronted alternative rock. I can't say it's great or worth going out of your way for. But it sounds fairly radio ready, and it's actually something I would've been into eight years ago. Very easy to get into, hum along to. However, it's ease to appreciate is what makes me uneasy. Am I being duped? Resold the same goods? Nevertheless, there are some cool sounds here and it's good on the first listen.
Blonde Redhead In an Expression of the Inexpressible Touch and Go Records Drums, guitar, baritone guitar and some keyboards are the instruments that define the Blonde Redhead sound. Last but not least is Kazu Makino's sensual yet pleading voice. This trio employs syncopated beats and dissonant melodies to create an aural mood. It is art rock at its best. Sonic Youth would be proud.
Boxer The Hurt Process Vagrant Records Something that a lot of punk rock albums seem to be missing lately is something that Boxer has tons of ≠ enthusiasm. It seems that so many bands know that if they play a specific form of punk (emo or hardcore, for that matter) than they can cut it. Wrong! Boxer shows other bands how it's done. Take great melodies, awesome tempo changes, add heartfelt vocals that can harmonize and also scream and then you've got a punk band. These guys border on hardcore, but they are still more punk than anything. They have some similarities to Lifetime, but they definitely do their own thing. I'm thoroughly impressed by this twelve-track release.
Boy Genius Last Grand Experiment Tommy Boy Three-piece punk rock with a strong rock side. The vocals are a little "metal" to me, but the music has some good hooks and melody. It's nothing special, but the kids will probably like it and with enough promotion it may see radio play. Just try not to pay attention to the mediocre lyrics.
BTK Self titled Ignition Records This is a pretty hyper release, with the funky energy of low-fi hip hop pieced together with laid back rapping. Reminds me of "Mellow Gold" by Beck, but it's a bit more aggressive. Nevertheless, if you like hip-hop and smoking out, this is probably something you'll dig.
Call It In The Air Just A Morning Thought Outback Records Simply beautiful music characterizes this emo release from six Michigan boys. The energy and emotions come through both the music and vocals. The singer has a way of being wonderfully sensitive and emotionally charged within seconds of each other. Likewise, the music can switch its direction, from soothing to driving. Dig on this ≠ it's a great record.
Consumed Breakfast at Pappa's Fat Wreck Chords This is a six-song EP from some darn good punk rockers. The music is straight-forward punk rock with solid melodies, cool tempo changes and mostly fast-paced beats. The vocals are really good and that may be what sets them apart from other "Fat Wreck sounding bands," such as they are.
Converge When Forever Comes Crashing Equal Vision Records You've heard the 7"s, now here's the full length! I appreciate having this on CD format. It was always a pain discovering I played their records at the wrong speed -- too fast/too slow. This is what you've come to expect of Converge, if not a bit more. I find that I can listen to it and enjoy it, more so than the 7"s. Still a heavy sound and vocal chord bleed out, yet there are mellower tracks that strike deeper. Messed up music for messed up kids. Get it!
Corduroy Dead End Memory Lane Broken Rekids This now-defunct three piece plays poppy, melodic indie rock with a garage feel to it. Sometimes it reminds me a bit of Dinosaur Jr. but then it becomes more punk rockin' and even has an occasional Ć60s feel. This CD features 23 tracks -- one hell of a deal for one disc.
Cursive Such Blinding Stars for Starving Eyes Crank! Records Ahhh, the chilled emo joys of Cursive drip from my ears. This band can truly capture emotion and make it into music. Between the drag and flow of the music and the energized and heartfelt vocals, this is well done. They remind me of a slowed down Knapsack ≠ and they rock.
Darling The Night in Bloom Guilt Ridden Pop This has a space/sky theme running through it. It's a very quiet, hush hush record. The sky theme makes this worth listening to, as it raises this above just music to the level of possible literary merit. If you like more cerebral writing with a pleasant stripped down sound, you'll probably appreciate this release. Give it three listens for it to sink in.
Digger The Promise of an Uncertain Future Hopeless Records This band has always been good, but this record shows they have really matured. They still play catchy power punk with great pop appeal. But this time around they've added creative aspects that were lacking from past releases. They have awesome breaks and hooks with some really neat tempo changes. The vocals, as usual, are super. This is a great album.
Dillinger Four Midwestern Songs of the Americas Hopeless Records This is definitely the best record ever put out by this label. And that says a lot cause they've had some great releases. Dillinger Four is pure punk rock with the emphasis on rock. They have a nonstop energy like no band I've ever heard. Mixing up their sound with cool harmonies and wild tempo changes completes the package. Their lyrics are intelligent, the vocals are rad (switching between two members) and the uptempo music is addictive.
El Guapo The Burden of History Resin Records El Guapo starts off with this loud, aggressive punk song, but then move to some poppy thing. Then they get back to the rocking before song four and their free-form jazz number. In other words, I'm not exactly sure what they're going for. This is a five-song EP, so I'd shop around for a full-length version (if they have one) if you're interested in this "Heinz 101" disc.
Elliott U.S. Songs Revelation Records In a world of too many emo bands, Elliott stands apart from the imitators and rip-off artists. Their energy is genuine, their lyrics are provoking and their sound is awesome. Their music has a great bounce to it in a melodic, driving way. The vocals aren't overpowering but capture the emotion of the music. This is definitely a great album with an incredible sound and feel and a unique diversity throughout.
Everlast Whitey Ford Sings The Blues Tommy Boy Do you remember House of Pain? Well, yes, this is the same Everlast. He still has the flow that makes you question his "whiteness". This time around, though, it's not just hip-hop. Everlast has incorporated some great soulful guitar-work. The beats are killer and the guitar works surprisingly well. This is a mixture of genres that I have yet to hear ≠ it's funky, bumpin', flowin' and groovin' along.
Free Verse Access Denied Brain Floss Records This has the raw feel of semi-talented musicians who are really into what they do. Anyone remember Bikini Kill and Spitboy? This is kind of in the same league with the anger directed towards sexual politics and such. The singing songs are so-so but the screaming songs are really great. Again, there are limitations to the variety of music, though it does seem that they place music on an equal footing as politics, for good or bad.
Funeral Oration Survival Hopeless Records These punkers are from Holland. The music is mid to uptempo punk with cool breakdowns and melodies. However, the accent on the vocals really gets to me. Sometimes I can put it aside and then I really get into the music, which tends to be really fun, hooky stuff.
Gitane De Mone Am I Wrong? Hollow Hill This is a great recording, one to listen to with the one you care for. There are so many great love songs here for the hopeful and optimistic. Heck, even if you're jaded and bitter this record should warm you up a bit to feeling those summer feelings. Her voice control is astounding, I mean, people who sing this good normally don't record such emotional music. They're better at emoting. I can see her having a pretty loyal fan base, as this is unlike much of anything I've heard. This is worth taking a chance on if you have an open heart and allow sound to take you places.
Green Machine D.A.M.N. Man's Ruin Records Metal, metal, metal. This is some pretty heavy thrash metal. It's angry, it's pissed, it's loud, you can't understand the singer's growlingäyou know the score. It's not bad, but it's not the best I've heard either. I give it three outta five.
Grendel Well Behaved / School Vehicle Resin Records Grendel is a really cool band. They're kind of emo-ish, but not quite as slit-your-wrist-ish. And not as heavy as a Sunny Day Real Estate. I liked the School Vehicle album better because it's a little louder and angrier, whereas Well Behaved is mellower. They're both good discs though.
In My Eyes The Difference Between Revelation Records I really like the lyrics to "Courage to Care," but you can get it on the Punk Uprisings Vol. 2 CD. The rest of the songs do not distinguish themselves from any other hardcore song- a male singing over fast guitar driven music. To their credit their music has no metal influences, yet that isn't much to distinguish this from other bands in the genre.
Inch This Will Fall on Dead Ears Cargo Music/Headhunter Sounds a lot harder and dangerous than it ever is. The lead singer guy was involved in drugs and the occult. So what's this have to do with the music? Nothing. It's kind of normal pop-punk stuff. Wish it was as fucked up as they claimed this guy's life was. If anything this shows tortured does not always equal genius, kids.
Jack Off Jill Sexless Demons and Scars Risk Records Sex sells, but who's buying? There's so much horrible about this ... Go South Florida, for spawning another Marilyn Manson. Yep, it's the boring evil self-destruction but now with cute chicks! Drugs, sex, and yeah, we've heard this before. And the music isn't even heavy, and the vocals alternate between little girl cute and screaming. It's something your 13-year-old sister could listen to and feel dangerous, but being a good older sibling you'd throw it away and give her "Thrill Kill Kult" instead.
JoyDrop Metasexual Tommy Boy Records This is my absolute favorite CD from this issue's offerings. This band reminds me of Garbage and Girls Against Boys. Tara Slone's voice is awesome and the band is better than a lot of the crap on corporate radio. This CD should be out by the time you read this (scheduled release date is July 28) so go buy it NOW! You will not be disappointed.
Loose Change D is for Delinquent Noise Patch Records This Cali four-piece plays uptempo, catchy punk rock. I first heard them when they did a 7" on Shredder Records a few years ago. Well, they still play good ol' poppy punk with quick tempos and great vocals. This album has twelve tracks with music that sometimes sounds like old Bad Religion and other times sounds like the Parasites.
Los Rudiments Psychoska: The First Three Years 1990-1993 Dill Records Just like the album name says, this album collects songs from the first three years of Los Rudiments. I hate to be picky, but there are four years between 1990 and 1993 (Ć90, Ć91, Ć92, & Ć93). The first seven tracks were salvaged from their original cassette demo. As for the rest, they were compiled from different releases, EPs, etc. Mostly ska, but some songs had a funk rhythm, very similar to early Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Lucid Nation The Stillness of Over Brain Floss Records OK, so I pre-judged them by the cover and insert again. What the hell am I supposed to do?! This trio (two chicks and dude) sounds like what I imagine the B52's would sound like if you told them to play punk or die. It's kind of haphazard, fun punk and they've got this great "screw you" attitude to boot!
LVX Nova LVX Nova Miramar Records After about a minute into "Contimune," the first track on this self-titled debut, you sit back and relax, thinking you're about to listen to an ambient/electronica CD. Then the electric guitar comes in. That's right, blues rock Ćn roll influenced electric guitar. This recording started out as a college thesis for guitarist Bobby DeVito (I suspect he passed). Later, keyboardist/programmer Mike Meengs joined in, bringing with him no pre-recorded samples, opting instead to start from scratch and sample his own, using everything from cigarette lighters to doorbells. Although the CD says "File under Ambient/Electronic," LVX Nova include techno, ambient, "chill out," rock and blues in this very unique record by this Tampa, FL duo.
Migraines Juvenilia Onefoot Records After listening to the second track, "I Wanna be a Ramone," I couldn't tell if the Migraines were being serious or sarcastic. After all, they did change their last names to "Migraine." They do sound like the Ramones, though Eddie Migraine's singing is a bit more ragged. Also, the drums seemed to be off sometimes.
Million Six Clean-Head Satellite Records Excellent punk! They play it fast, they throw in some grooves, they got it all. Plus, 21 songs make it hard to pass up.
Mix Master Mike Anti Theft Device Asphodel Scratching and mixing, beats and funky basslines. If you like hip-hop and respect cutting and scratching, pick this up. It's good stuff.
Morning Again As Tradition Dies Slowly Revelation This is has a layered, heavy sound to it, with raspy hoarse vocals that are interesting and set this apart. The songs are constantly evolving and aren't content to keep repeating the same riffs. It's all very thick and metal influenced, and again, heavy!
Multiple Cat Elements of The Multiple Cat Guilt Ridden Pop Multiple Cat released a terrific CD two years ago- it was the soundtrack for fall, rife with melodies, instrumentation and lyrics that provided warmth during this cool weather time. Two years later they're back! I like this because I liked the other CD. This is a different sound- with more guitars than the previous. The harmonizing is still there, as are the non-traditional structures. It still sounds distinct but doesn't click. Probably because it's summer and this is not yet of season. Buy this and listen to it in October. It'll probably evoke more then.
My Pal Trigger Lessons in Ancient History KatRec Formed in Tampa in 1994, My Pal Trigger has been busy playing their brand of alterna-pop-power-punk. Dave and Jeremy share the singing duties, sometimes opting for a strained pitch. I spent a pretty enjoyable half hour listening to this CD.
Naked Aggression Gutwringing Machine Cargo Music "I got one order of in-your-face, old school punk here...come and get it!" Basically, that sums it up. Don your leather jacket, spikes and chains, and turn this up!
Natas Delmar Man's Ruin Records I'm sensing a trend here. Apparently Medeski, Martin and Wood have really caught on. Like El Guapo, Natas kind of explore their musical interests. This is a lot of free form jamming, sometimes hard, sometimes jazzy. It kind of gets old, but overall, not bad.
Nick Heyward The Apple Bed Big Deal My CD reviewing for the month started off on a high note when I threw on this CD. Nick Heyward writes some great songs and plays them even better. Sounding at times like Morrissey, at times like the Beatles, he has great hooks and clever songs. Crunchy guitars, horns, a full score in the backgroundäexcellent listening.
Orbitronik Self titled Ladd-Frith Electronic music, minus the beats per minutes that would urge listeners to dance. Actually, this record stresses music with electronics. There's some great sounds, yet the restraint to keep it within the "music sphere" makes me wonder if music builds weren't betrayed, or if going against cliches is the intent. I expected this to go off, and it doesn't. It's coming from a different place than pure energy. The intent is music with a different instrument, and on this level they succeed.
Ozomatli Self titled Almo Sounds This is a Latino's dream! You have a mixture of salsa and hip-hop, sung in Spanish. Some tracks lean towards salsa, others hip-hop, with scratching provided by the much-respected Cut Chemist. It's all very danceable music, pulling from the roots to grow a new awareness of much neglected Latino music and infuse this with politics. This is an important record, a must-buy on your next trip to the record store. It sounds so great and it's true to its cultural roots.
P.W. Long with Reelfoot Push Me Again Touch and Go Records Kick ass! I reviewed this guy a while ago on his previous CD and thought it was awesome. Now he's outdone himself. This is no frills rockabilly and blues, I'd call it. Kind of like the Black Crowes meets the Allman Brothers meets Stevie Ray Vaughan. I'm putting this in my heavy rotation bin right now. Get this!
Pansy Division Absurd Pop Song Romance Lookout Records The homo-punk kids went and added a fourth member and totally changed their sound. Instead of the quirky, fun pop-punkish sounds of albums past, the guys now have more of a stripped-down rock sound. A few songs still have that PD feel. As usual, the lyrics are homo-themed and a joy to hear/read and the vocals are undeniably PD. Not bad, but don't expect the same PD as past albums.
Parasites Rat Ass Pie Go-Kart Records Another pop gem has been delivered by the king of Ćem, Dave Parasite. This three-piece plays witty, sappy pop-punk that is totally fun and catchy as anything. There are fourteen tracks on this album and each has spunk and hooks galore. This is one of those bands that is always putting out great music.
Pilot Stranger's Waltz Thirsty Ear Records This is the official band of the "Flower Power 98" movement. They describe themselves as creating "organic narratives and sonic landscapes" and I guess that's pretty much it. This should have been the entire soundtrack to "Dazed and Confused." Like, wow man.
Rancid Like Won't Wait Epitaph Well, I could have waited longer for a better Rancid album. Maybe I'm just not into them anymore. The music has become poppier and, at times, over-produced with that psuedo-ska thing thrown in here and there. This album even has some Social Distortion overtones, which would be ok if it were Social D. I'm just not as impressed by them as I once was. A few tracks do jump out as good stuff, so this isn't all bad ≠ and there are twenty-two tracks.
Ricanstruction Liberation Day CBGB Records Citing influences from jazzmaster John Coltrane and punk rockers Bad Brains, to salsa legends Hector Lavoe and Willie Colůn, the four New York bred Puerto Ricans that make up Ricanstruction blend punk music with Latin hyper-percussion to bring their revolutionary message to the masses. They cry for Puerto Rico's independence, citing Pedro Albizu Campos, as well as for the release of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal. Watch out, the revolution is on its way.
Rocker T and Version City Rockers Nicer by the Hour Stubborn Records Being familiar with the 7" for "Fiya Bun Roam," I was excited to hear Rocker T's full length. I was not let down, as this CD contains both songs from that 7" plus 15 other tracks. This has a reggae and rocksteady vibe more so than ska. The slowed down nature allows you to groove to the steady beats and the chorus section of songs like "Worries." I really liked this album as the lyrics cover the personal, political and an "I-Story Lesson," while the music and voice bring to mind the spirit of Chess R&B records. This is essential listening, so get it!
Rudimentary Peni Echoes of Anguish Southern/Outer Himalayan Records First of all, whoever drew the cover art is pretty messed up. Creative yes, but messed up. Anyway, the music sounds like old Ramones or Saxon or some older metal/punk bands. If you like that, you'll love this.
Self Codename: Spivey Offtime Records Pretty good melodic punk. I was reminded of Funbox and Big Drill Car at times. No song really stood out among the others, but I enjoyed listening to the record anyway. I did like their cover of "Your Love" by The Outfield.
Shadow Project From the Heart Hollow Hill Sound Recordings Folkie music for goths. It sounds really pretty and all, but it's folkie music with a bit more production work. It sounds good, but unfortunately if you listen to the lyrics, well, it's hard for me to take anything Goths have to say seriously. I wouldn't pass this by if you have a chance to listen to it. The instrumentation does go beyond folkie, so check it out. It's just not the revelation I would expect goth music to have.
Shonen Knife Happy Hour Big Deal Records It's always such a joy to listen to Shonen Knife. Their similarities to the Ramones go without saying, but the ultra simple lyrics and the quirky accent get to me every time. I already heard "Banana Chips" on the radio once and haven't gotten tired of it yet. Some of their other tracks get a bit slower than usual, which is a nice change of pace.
Shyster February Man's Ruin Records This is an amazing seven-song EP from Florida's best band. Shyster can no longer be called just a punk band. They combine indie rock, emo, hardcore and jazz grooves with their mid-to-uptempo punk sound to create some of the neatest music out there. Melodic and heartfelt best describe the overall feel. There is energy throughout and thought provoking lyrics. This is their best release to date.
Silent Majority Based on a True Story Wreckage Being a CD reissue of their earlier 7''s, well, I wasn't so impressed by the initial tracks on this CD, but the later one's really got me. "Knew Song" is mid-tempo with great delivery and a sing-a-long quality. "Second Skin" is a good song, as well, building nicely. The voice is distinct and comes across great here and in "Life Raft." I appreciate that I can like a portion of their development. Normally it's an all or nothing for me.
Silkworm Blueblood Touch and Go Records Silkworm is a guitar and vocal driven rock outfit. They have great melodies and a very tight sound. It's probably best defined as creative, indie guitar pop. There is an energy that pushes its way through despite the fact that they music is rather laidback ≠ and there's definitely a cool groove.
Skanic Last Call Moon Ska Records This nine-piece team mixes traditional ska beats with 2-tone aggression to bring the audience to their feet. Skanic mixes soulful horn riffs, upbeat harmonies and insightful melodies to create a party atmosphere at times not unlike the Toasters. I loved the cover of Nirvana's "Breed."
Sky Cries Mary Fresh Fruits for the Liberation World Domination Music Another experimental band here. This is more eerie kind of music though, not the jazz-fusion experimental music I've been hearing. This is the stuff they play during scary movies when the young, pre-pubescent couples are taking their shortcut through the dark, rainy alley.
Sloppy Seconds More Trouble Than They're Worth Nitro Records Fun punk is in order any time you listen to Sloppy Seconds. A drunken, melodic tune trembles through the air with a keen sense of humor. I'm not sure how long these guys have been playing out, but they've been consistently good. This latest release, 16-tracks worth, is no exception. Offspring fans may like to know that Dexter Holland had a hand in producing this.
Social Distortion Live at the Roxy Time Bomb Take some of Social Distortion's best songs and listen to them perform them live. What a wonderful experience! That is what this seventeen track live album has to offer. If you like Social D, you'll dig this. For those who don't know Social D, they have incredible energy, rough, pissed vocals and a punchy, rock Ćn' roll sound full of melodic punkness. I just wish that they played some of the tunes faster.
Straight Faced Conditioned Epitaph Records These guys play fast hardcore with punk tendencies and some cool tempo changes. The music is melodic and angry. There are great sing-a-long choruses that gives it an old school feel at times.
Swindle Better Off Dead Cargo Records Although this isn't the soundtrack to the 80's movie with the same name, it sure as hell would have made the movie better if it was. Seeing John Cusak moshing it up to these punksters would have been well worth the price of admission. There are 18 punk/hardcore songs on this CD. No fuss, no muss.
Swingin' Utters Five Lessons Learned Fat Wreck Chords What a ridiculous name for a band. But, they make up for it in their uptempo, catchy, power punk tunes. The vocals are rough at times, but in a good way. Musically, they can sound a bit like Social Distortion meets the Queers meets Lagwagon (oh, be still the comparisons). Another great band added to the Fat Wreck roster.
Tabitha's Secret Don't Play With Matches Forbidden Records TB is a disbanded local Orlando band with a fascinating aspect. The lead singer of Matchbox 20 was TB's lead singer. And the Matchbox 20 hit "3 a.m." is actually a Tabitha's Secret song (hence the anger from TB members and, from what I know, a lawsuit). The song is a lot less "rock" than the newer version. However, TB aren't much to talk about -- college rock with emphasis on vocals (which aren't that great) and guitar. You can group this with Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews Band and for that matter, Matchbox 20.
The Alkaline Trio For Your Lungs Only EP Asian Man Records Chicago is putting out a crop of killer power-pop-punk bands. Besides Tuesday and The Broadways (also on Asian Man), along comes this kick-ass three-piece. The music is very hooky, catchy punk rock with great melodies and cool tempo changes. The vocals are also very good, adding well to the already tight musical sound. There are some emo overtones, but this is not, by any means, another "emo" band. Unfortunately, this is only a 4-song EP.
The Generators Welcome to the End Triple X Records The Generators have a credo, and it is "77 Heaven." These guys got together to preserve the first wave 1977 punk rock sound of bands like The Damned, The Clash, The Stranglers, and Sham 69. Most songs have catchy choruses that give "Welcome to the End" a party atmosphere with an edge.
The Heads The Time is Now Man's Ruin Records I know you're getting sick of this word, but I don't know what else to use. This is "experimental" punk music. What the hell else do you call it when every song sounds different? They're "multi-influenced?" Fine. Basically it's a punk band but they're multi-influenced. Is it good? Depends on which song.
The Judas Factor Self titled Wreck-Age I like that the lyrics attack, the vocals are so raw throat and angry. But the recording is of a substandard low-fi quality, like listening to a ten-year-old seven-inch. It's aggressive East Coast hardcore, which I can see a lot of folks getting into in a strong way. Despite the recording quality, the music and especially the vocals are very powerful. No breakdowns or mosh parts, just FULL ON POWER!
Therion Vovin Nuclear Blast America I'm not much of a fan of the gothic, darkwave movement, but for some reason I like Therion. Their second release, "Vovin," blends dark, moody guitars with opera style singing to create a very dramatic atmosphere. In fact, they even employ the Wupperthal Opera House Choir and the Indigo Orchestra to round out their classical approach to gothic metal.
Thumb Exposure Victory Records Thumb is a German five-piece combining guitar, bass, drums, vocals and turntables. Throw in a few samples and this band sounds very much like the Orange County, CA band HED(pe). The music is a mix of Rage Against The Machine, new school hardcore, metal and hip-hop. The hooks and grooves are catchy and driving. I wish the turntables were used a little more. But overall, this is a kickass album with energy and a really solid sound. (Plus a pro-vegetarian song!)
Tom Racer The Secret's Out Risk Records This is power pop but a little more powerful. It's louder and it doesn't have that over-polished sound that ruins a lot of the new power pop bands out there. Their guitars are fuzzy, the drums are loud and the vocals are cool. I like this a lot.
Tonystark High Tech-Low Life Resurrection A.D. Records With members from hard-core punk outfits Awkward Thought, Lament, and Sealed with a Fist, Tonystark were impressing audiences when they had been together for only a few months. They certainly impressed me with their debut EP "High Tech-Low Life." Melodic vocals are combined with groovy, riff-heavy guitars to create a sturdy power pop album.
Vandals Hitler Bad, Vandals Good Nitro Records Besides a great album title, this is also a great pop-punk record. And that says a lot for a band that has been around for a zillion years putting out great music year after year. Lyrically, it's a fun loving, silly album. Musically, it's fun loving, silly album -- but with experience, a tight, catchy sound and kick-ass vocals. Many bands have learned what they do from the Vandals.
Various Artists AthFest '98 Ghostmeat Records A great compilation CD, AthFest '98 serves up great indie alternapop and folk bands. If you're familiar with the Aware series of compilations, this fits right in. There are 19 songs on this one so you're getting more than your money's worth and it's all great. Man or Astroman?, Jack Logan, Hayride, and Drip are just some of the bands you'll hear. Check it out!
Various Artists Hopelessly Devoted to You Too Hopeless Records This is an amazing compilation. No critique will be needed when I mention a few of the bands on it: Against All Authority, Mustard Plug, The Queers, Nobodys, 88 Fingers...21 songs, all awesome, all better than anything you're listening to right now.
Various Artists Love and Affection: Ska in the Key of Love Moon Ska Records If you feel like makin' love to your sweetie while listening to some romantic ska, this is the CD for you. The Porkers, The Toasters, Skinnerbox, Punch the Clown, Bim Skala Bim and others show you their softer side in these twenty tracks of 2-tone style ska, all with lyrics devoted to love.
Various Artists Oldies But Goodies! Negative Progression This is a really great idea -- have punk rock bands play old 50's rock-n-roll songs. But alas, it becomes what we'd expect of a punk rock band covering old 50's songs -- played fast with a bit of hamming so it's not taken seriously. Which would be all right if I didn't respect a good portion of the originals here only to hear them given a shoddy play through. Not all this is bad. Gob's Mr. Sandman is just amazing and fun, as it ends with the riffs from "Enter Sandman" by Metallica. The rest of the CD isn't as inspired.
Various Artists Paint with Sound Deep Reverb This isn't particularly groundbreaking, but it is relaxing. It's minimal indie rock sounding stuff, more indie than rockin'. The bands appear to be from the D.C. area, and unfortunately there is no information as to their who, what or where. Not to say this is without merit. It's kind of neat to listen to stuff no one's heard of and find a song you like.
Various Artists Punk Uprisings Vol. 2 Go-kart Records Wow! Thirty-nine tracks of great and somewhat good punk from the East Coast! I'm happy that they have a live version of "Young, Loud, and Scotty" by Lifetime which sounds very clear. And they have great tracks by Against All Authority, Anti-Heroes, Atom & His Package, and an awesome dual vocal delivery by Kill the Man who Questions. You have punk, Oi!, hardcore, and even ska-punk and grind. This is an ESSENTIAL compilation to add to your collection, or to lead into Punk Rock. I'm really happy that they took the time to share what they love from the East Coast and have great live tracks, to boot. SO GET THIS NOW! You'll kick yourself for wasting anytime to listen it.
Various Artists Records for the Working Class Deep Elm Records "Pay no more than $5" the CD says. Well, it's worth twice that easily. This sampler features nine different Deep Elm bands that fit in the genre of emo, some more diverse than others. Featured artists include Appleseed Cast (melodic emo), Pave the Rocket (intense, hard-edged indie rock), Brandston (edgy, melodic, hardcore indie rock) and several more.
Various Artists Ska United: A Global Ska Sampler Moon Ska Records For those of you who thought that ska was just another American fad, take notice! Moon Ska has come out with yet another compilation of great ska music. This time, bands from all around the globe are featured: Denmark, Holland, Brazil, England, Russia, Japan, Germany and of course the good old U.S. of A. Notably absent was Jamaica, where this music was born. Nevertheless, this release of mostly traditional/2-tone ska will broaden your horizons way past your local scene.
Various Artists Steady Sounds from the Underground Side 1 When I first started listening to ska, the only way to get a handle on bands and styles was compilations rather than buying individual records. Mostly cuz the bands were young and probably had only self-released their music. Now, this is good and bad, because it has a lot of fine bands but some of the tracks are so DAMN OLD! What is "Othello" doing here? There are no liner notes to tell us when these tracks were recorded, or anything of the band's history. I like some of the bands here, but don't pay more than $10 for this CD. Less than Jake gave away the "Mixology" track as a freebie CD-single for crying out loud! If this label really cared about the music they would have sought out newer tracks and provided more information. Otherwise it seems like they're cashing in off "band name" credibility. Don't buy into it, kids!
Various Artists The Sound of (r)evolution Critical Massive This is a sampler of Critical Massive DJs and electronic musicians. This will appeal to collectors of electronic dance music, as there are tracks previously unreleased in the USA by Luke Slater, Roni Size, and Rob & Goldie.
Various Artists Yearbook 1997-98 Ghostmeat Records Another various release from Ghostmeat. It's not quite as good as AthFest '98, but it's still fun. These songs have more of a garage-pop kind of fell -- not too polished but lots of fun. Tony Tidwell & the Scalded Dogs, Wonderlust, and The Lures are among the players on this 21-song collection.
Various Artists You Don't Have to Be Tom Jones - Volume Two Coolidge Records This is definitely the surprise of the month. See, the cover of this CD is really stupid but it kicks (yeah, yeah, "don't judge a book..." Bite me). I thought it was going to suck completely, but it's quite the opposite. This is a compilation of four bands: The Tank, Man Without Plan, Smartbomb Ca, and Kid With Man Head. This is all punk and it's all bad ass. These bands have some great songs and with 12 in all, you're a fool for not getting this.
Vision of Disorder Imprint Roadrunner Records Having heard of VOD, I was happy that they have a metal influence in their music and lyrical stylings of overstrained screaming and standard singing, yet the lyrics are still audible, and all these combine to create a heavy hardcore sound. It's good stuff, and if you'd like to hear throat ripping hardcore then this is a record for you.
Vitreous Humor Posthumous Crank! Records Vitreous means "translucent." I guess they mean that they are humor that you can see through. Well, there is nothing funny on this record. It is clean-cut, creative indie rock with some emo aspects to it. There is a great raw energy that creeps up often enough, but not too often. This is a tight album with a solid, rocking sound and a quirkiness that makes it unique. Take Promise Ring, Dinosaur Jr. and Braid and you have an idea of some of the sounds contained in this record.
Voodoo Glow Skulls The Band Geek Mafia Epitaph Records It has been a while since I gave VGS a chance. I used to love them and it seems that love still exists. I really dig this album. Full of poppy-punk hooks, very fast music and horns galore, I'm stoked. The record doesn't seem to quit, it just keeps dishing out the great tunes.
Zoothead There Is No Sleep Deep Reverb This is indie rock straight out of Washington D.C. It's pretty darn good. Guitar-driven melodies float through the album with consistently good vocals. The tempo fluctuates between mid to low speeds. Many songs are quite beautiful. This isn't amazing as indie rock goes, but it is worth checking out if you're into that style of music.
SEVEN INCH REVIEWS
50 Million Ouch Dill Records If there wasn't so much instrumental and vocal feedback and fuzz (I think intentional), this would be decent.
Bald Rapunzel Three Weeks Resin Records Quirky music with powerful female vocals characterize this three-piece band. The music is pulsating and driving with a subtle power.
Choking Victim Victim Comes Alive HellCat Records "Fucked Reality" is a catchy song that mocks the Marilyn Manson followers out there. "Hate Yer State" is kind of funny. I like their attitude more than their music, which on this track is a horrible mix of punk and ska. Get your friend to buy this. It's worth a listen but not spending money on.
Damnation 100% Rotten Bubble Gum BYO Records Don't waste your time with this crappy punk rock with a "satanic" theme. Someone tell them that the Misfits did it and their music was better.
Dehumanized Classified New Red Archives This is old school hardcore that reminds me of The Accused, DRI and Blatz. Frankly, I'm over it, but some people still dig that extremely fast skaterock stuff.
F-Minus Failed Society HellCat Records When I hear pissed off punk rock, I kind of wonder if it's a joke, as punk rock anger has become a parody of itself. "Trouble At the Cup" has great lyrics and slowed down music, though most of the 11 songs on this 45-rpm record clock in short and fast. Hard to recommend, though, unless you really really like gutter punk.
Jarhead/Bionic Man split 7" Submit Records I'm so bored with most of today's punk rock. Either it has that "Fat Wreck" sound, or it has that "we're four teenagers angry at the world with enough money for a 4-track recording." Jarhead is the latter. Bionic Man has a better recording but an equally boring hardcore punk rock.
John Cougar Concentration Camp Interstate 8 West BYO Records Straight-up rock'n'roll with a punk attitude. "So Much for Unity" is the first song on alienation/ostracism I've heard in such a long time, and the lyrics and music are awesome! Fuck doing it for the kids, do it for yourself! "Interstate 8 West" is a pissed off break up song. Great record -- get it!
Johnny X and the Conspiracy Buy, Sell, Trade BYO Records This is pretty darn good punk rock with more rock than I imagined. It features three songs. Worth it!
NRA Bunk BYO Records Fast paced, angry hardcore punk stuff. Nothing especially new; another punk vinyl slab to add to the collection.
Peterbuilt Regulation Hazel Records Orlando, Florida's emo kings have their first 7" release. It travels from sweet to sincere to intense. It can be beautiful and angry. With only two songs, though, it leaves me wishing there was more.
Pohgoh/Braid split 7" Outback/New Granada Records Pohgoh was Tampa's emopop gem. Now broken up (but with a CD on Outback) we must take pleasure in the little things, like "Good Night, Sweetheart". As for Braid, they rock. A great song, as great as Braid called "What A Wonderful Puddly".
Radiation Kings A look back at things to come... Stubborn Records Another fine 7" release by Stubborn. The Radiation Kings stand apart from other ska bands thanks to their laid back rhythms, the open heart lyrics, and terrific female vocals. "Can't find a way" is such a great song, yet the others are good, too. Severely recommended, as I've kept it on my record player since I got it a week ago.
The Better Automatic Little Resin Records This is DC emo/indie rock with kick-ass basslines reminiscint of Fugazi and similarities overall to Jawbox.
The No Talents Quelle Crise Betsy Broken Rekids Chicks with squeaky, annoying voices shouldn't sing ≠ no matter how punk rock they think they are. This is Ramones'ish.
ADDRESSES - in alphabetical order TOO!! Please write them.
Almo Sounds, 360 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048-1925
Music reviews from past issues: