30footFALL Ever Revolving, Never Evolving Nitro Records I'll tell you something ... I like these guys. I mean, I don't know them, but I like their music and if they ever come to my town I'll buy them a beer. This is fun pop-punk that you simply can't help liking. They don't take themselves too seriously and as a result, they have fun and that shows through in the music.
7 Seconds Good To Go Side One Dummy Records Do I really need to say anything? Most everyone knows and loves 7 Seconds. To be truthful, I haven't heard a lot of them but I know they've been around forever and anyone who knows punk knows 7 Seconds. I'll be getting more intimately acquainted with them ASAP. Super-charged punk - the way they were in the beginning!
88 Fingers Louie/Kid Dynamite Split CD Sub City Records This ain't your mama's punk. This is fast as hell punk that nearly blew my ears out. Yeah, it's loud. What's that? Cow visit? Huh? Ohhhh...how is it?! Sorry, my ears are ringing. It's good stuff. Just straight-ahead punk, no frills.
ADZ Odz'n'Sodz Amsterdamned Records This is a collection of odds and ends, singles, out-takes, demos and live stuff. Honestly. I had never heard of these fellows before, but this is good stuff. It runs the gamut from screaming distortion noise to cow-punk complete with harmonica. Very interesting and a cool collection of music all in all.
All Chrome Flounders Flyers College and Canada Ferret Records For one reason or another I kept thinking of Hot Water Music while listening to All Chrome. Perhaps because they both have gruff sounding singers and frequent harmonizing. Perhaps because they both work within the hardcore vein. Perhaps because they both share lyrics dealing with introspection and coping with change. If these attributes appeal to you, seek out this CD.
Animal Chin 20 Minutes From Right Now Fueled By Ramen Records Hold on to your pants cause this CD may cause you to dance out of em. Animal Chin is a three-piece made up of equal parts pop-punk and melodic power rock - mix it up and you've got yourself a totally unique, aggressive, emotional musical masterpiece founded on awesome vocals, creative song-writing, badass tempo changes and habit-forming hooks. This album will enter your veins and infect you, causing an increasingly addictive need to listen.
Bill Rieflin Birth of a Giant First World Music Ministry fans need not apply. The aforementioned band's former drummer Bill Rieflin has released his solo debut, and it's nothing like what you might expect, which suits him just fine. Birth of a Giant is what you might call "messy pop." "This record is basically a balance between contrary ideas, opposing concepts," Rieflin says. The songs are mostly mid-tempo, but have a certain kind of urgency to them. Keyboards are all over this one, either as the driving force behind the song, or just for effect, accentuating the mood. Most of which, by the way, are played by Mr. Rieflin himself. In fact, he plays bass, drums, "drill guitars," "disco organs," plus he sings on most tracks.
Black Dave Next Stop the Ghetto Roadrunner Records This southern-fried rap release is coming out on a traditionally metal label. Now the label has decided to move into the rap realm and they enter on an upswing, droppin' Black Dave's new album. Through an agreement with Triad Records, also an indie label, Roadrunner is bringing the party-style hip-hop flavor of "Next Stop the Ghetto" to a larger audience. Dave's style is a mixture, but definitely has an Atlanta/Miami influence.
Blood For Blood Livin' In Exile Victory Records You can say this for these guys: They sure have a lot of promotional material to sell you: hats, shirts, windbreakers, jerseys, stickers, etc., etc. It would be nice if they put as much effort into the music as they do in selling their name. The music ("hardcore from the streets, motherfucker!") is okay, but it really seems to lack the energy that I like in my hardcore. It just does not seem like they mean it. It's good, not great.
Chicklet wanderlust Satellite Records Lovely is the sweet disco sounds of Chicklet. The female vocals are whispery and light and the music has a nice sixties cum nineties feel to it, wrought with melody and a mix of synths and guitars. This is a long album, so brace yourself for the beauty of "Glycerine" and "Afterstorm." Truly recommended for the international jet setters.
Damnation Drunk & Stupid R.A.F.R. Records Let me begin by saying that this disc is disappointing. This is so because it only has 6 songs on it. This is probably the best disc I've heard this year. Super-evil punk in the fast and furious style of FEAR. This is fun and scary and excellent. My favorite is "Little Old Man Dog (who wants to mate with your leg)." I love it, though it will probably add another millennium in Hell for me to say that.
Dayglo Abortions Death Race 2000 GOD Records If you're familiar with Dayglo, you don't even need to read this. If you're not, I'll make it real simple: punk rock that doesn't give two shits about political correctness. With songs like "Drink beer smoke pot, My mother was a man, Stupid Drunkin Fuckin Cunt, Euthanasia Day" and "Marijuanathon," you know what's going on. I will say this for them: their music is pretty damned good, surprisingly enough. Had I heard those song titles I wouldn't even have considered listening, but they pull it off.
Del Rey dlry dirigible recordings Mostly slow tempo instrumental stuff. Pretty cool music to have as a background while you do other things, because it doesn't get in the way. In this disc, you can detect a certain kind of sadness, although there are no vocals. Definitely worth checking out if you're into mellow music.
Discount Love, Billy Fueled by Ramen Records This is a really cool concept: a tribute to the singing socialist, Billy Bragg. Discount performs five of Bragg's politically charged tunes in a straight-ahead punk style with excellent results. You can sense the band's admiration and respect for Bragg and his work. Discount's lead singer, Alison, brings out the passion and conviction of Bragg's lyrics, which are reprinted in the CD sleeve. This comes highly recommended for those who enjoy music with a message.
Dream City Film Club In the Cold Light of Morning Beggars Banquet Betrayal! Confusion! Heartbreak! Feeling it lately? Start sipping some absinthe and check in on the Film Club. Some great, desolate lyrics here, with enough moody guitar work to make Carrot Top turn Goth (though they do pick it up a bit on tracks like "Nerveshot" and "Fuck It Up"). These guys owe a lot in atmospherics to bands like Radiohead, though unlike them, the songs don't really go anywhere surprising. This band picks a mood and sticks with it for better or worse. Most of the time, it's worth the commitment.
Duraluxe Dolorosa Meddle Records Having something for everyone sometimes leaves nothing for anyone. Duraluxe are musicians with a capital "M." I respect their urge to cross from brit pop energy to indy pop slowness to country western tinged ballads and back again. The recording and musicianship are excellent. The songs fall neatly into their respective categories, and in their own right they attain a certain beauty. Unfortunately, the diversity creates abrupt shifts between tracks, and the beauty ultimately leaves me cold as I pick up on the emoting but feel left out of the emotion.
Errortype:11 The Crank EP Crank! This band is such a tease! At least we know they'll put out soon (full length expected in September). This five-song release is only a taste of what's to come from these rockers. Errortype:11 does to rock what the mainstream bands can't do make it intricate, powerful and emotional at the same time. The vocals are absolutely astounding, only enhanced by the skillful musical accompaniment. Despite only being a sampling of what they have to offer, this new release is well worth checking out. [Note: Please don't miss out on seeing this band live - they are incredible!]
E-Town Concrete F$ck the World EP Resurrection A.D. Four songs worth of tight, angry metal ala Biohazard with some hip-hop grooves thrown in for good measure, though occasionally the beats come off a little forced. Gotta like the vocals though - this guy can wail. Worth checking out for the pissed-off urban set.
Falling Sickness Dysentery Sub City Records Good God! These guys fuckin' go off! Taking political outrage and beating you over the head with it. Falling Sickness is rap, metal and punk all balled up and pissed off. The vocals on Dysentery border on unintelligible, but whatever they're saying, you never doubt that they believe it.
Fastbreak Whenever You're Ready Revelation Records They bill themselves as hardcore and punk, but I would say that they lean far closer to the latter than the former. This is fast punk that sounds pretty good. There are 13 songs on this disc and there is not a total clinker in the bunch. On the whole, I would say that this is a pretty decent disc for those who like their punk a bit faster and a bit harder than average.
Franklin self-titled Tree Records I hate to sound like a broken record, but every other reviewer has had this same problem: how do you classify Franklin? Though they like to dwell mostly in the heavy bass/reggae/dub/hip-hop league, they stray from that on this CD. There are some alterna-pop numbers on here as well as the rhythm-heavy beats they hover around. Old Police and Jane's Addiction are among the bands they've been likened to. I just plain like them.
Frenzal Rhomb A Man's Not a Camel Fat Wreck I'm very impressed with this pop-punk foursome. Their lyrics are well conceived, and their sound is very representative of the carefree spirit that I wish all in the punk rock world possessed. This excludes you stupid bastards that knock me over at shows in your tribal dance rituals. Highly recommended.
FYP/Chaniwa split CD Suburban Home Before you know it, the disc is over but you've been blown away by two of the coolest fast-paced punk rock bands. These two play punk rock, play it quick, play it rough and get it over with, no messing around. FYP is a California-based band pumping out five rippin' tracks. Chaniwa are direct from Tokyo, injecting you with wild, intense punk rock twisted wonderfully with female vocals and bound to make you like Japan even more.
Gameface Good Dr. Strange Records This album was originally released by Network Sound years ago. It was great then - and still is (maybe better cause it's been remixed). This four-piece has a way of packaging mid-uptempo, melodic punk rock with emotional overtones that most other bands can't accomplish. The time changes, creativity, guitar work, lyrics, and vocals - all superb. Factor in Gameface's live show and they're one of the best rock bands out there.
Garrison The Bend Before the Break Revelation Records This four-piece from Boston has a full and rich style which places great emphasis on melody and emotion. There are very complex beat patterns in their music, and the music dances in and out of sudden interludes with great prowess. Showing that they are obviously very skilled musicians, Garrison is a powerful force. Check them out.
GONEMAD Planet 9 896 Records This disc rocked my sorry ass all the way into next week. This is super heavy, super crunchy, super thrashing cool. Metal funk at its best; with a definite Method 51 or Stuck Mojo feel, these 5 dudes throw out some of the tightest, most listenable heavy sounds around. They sound like Pantera and James Brown in a jam session. This has my vote as one of the best of 1999.
Hero of a Hundred Fights self-titled 404 Records Hero of a Hundred Fights is angry, full of rage and discordance. It's certainly a worthwhile effort from a very talented band, and if wild music that leaves you with no clue as to where it's going to go next is your thing, I would urge you to partake.
Himsa self-titled EP Revelation Records There's some good news and there's some bad news. The good news is that this is some of the most ass-kickin'est hardcore that you're going to hear this year. The bad news is that this disc has but three songs on it. It sort of whets your appetite and makes you want more. This is angry, super heavy hardcore that does not get lost in speed or aggression; there is music here! This is a great (though short) disc.
Hot Rod Honeys Horny and Hungry Man's Ruin Records This is 17 fantastic tracks of garage punk, a relentless assault on your senses that just makes you wanna flail wildly until you knock something over. This kind of music is a necessary part of living, methinks. This is a first release from the Belgian band. May the garage punk essence live forever!
Husking Bee Put on Fresh Paint Doghouse Records Boys and Girls! You know have a new band to be excited about! Husking Bee appear to be from Japan, recorded this pop-punky album in Hollywood, and sing in a language that is indeed English. I bring up the language because though the words are difficult to decipher at times without the lyric sheet, the emotion conveyed in the sound of Masafumi Isobe's voice disarms you and engages you to bounce and dance along. Seriously -- this is the raddest voice and delivery I've heard in a long time. This is such a great CD to get into- perfect for summer going on fall. You owe yourself a smile -- give this a listen.
Insidious Moon In June 404 Records REALLY Emo-rock here. This is the most emo emo-rock I've heard in a long time. Usually a song builds, hits a crescendo and fades away. These guys build, hit a crescendo, build some more, bigger crescendo...you get the idea. It's really good stuff. The production value isn't so great, which makes their talents even more impressive. Nice release.
Iron Monkey/Church Of Misery split CD Man's Ruin Records Yikes! This is some seriously evil shit. It starts off a bit slow but gets swinging into full throttle with two bands who definitely belong on a disc together. Heavy riffs which have a definite old Black Sabbath feel to them are interspersed with pure evil ferocity that delivers a disc which is sure to please even the most deviant sociopath in your neighborhood.
Jackpot/L.E.S. Stitches Electric Live split CD Onefoot Records This is sixteen songs of pure, raw old school punk. Fast and furious is the name of these two bands who seem at their peaks when performing live. This disc captures the feel of a live show with two band who definitely give their all to perform. This is a great high energy disc for anyone whose life needs a kick in the pants.
Jeff Dahl All Trashed Up Triple X Records This album rocks... but strangely, I can't quite figure out what about it rocks. It's just good. It's the kind of stuff that forces you to make a mean face, squint, and bob your head up and down. It's the kind of music I'd like to listen to while driving my Harley, if I had one. Just real "Bad to the Bone" rock.
Jeff Greinke Ride First World Music With close to twenty recordings under his belt, Jeff Greinke delights us once more with Ride. Blending acoustic and electronic instruments, along with any other sounds he can get his hands on, he creates an aural background full of textures and layers. This album uses more conventional instruments than in some of his previous efforts, as he was aiming for a more rhythmic tone. In a time where everything seems to be aggressive and jagged, it's good to know that there is still someone out there that enjoys creating music for relaxing the mind. Turn off the lights and let Jeff do his work...
Jeff Greinke/Anisa Romero Hana First World Music After collaborating a couple of times on different projects, Jeff Greinke and Anisa Romero decided it was time to record an album together. Romero brings her angelical voice to the forefront, not as a singer of words, but as another instrument in the mix. Only two songs have lyrics, but all have her voice drifting in and out, much like all of the other instruments. Greinke, on the other hand, lends his musical talents, manipulating every sound so they blend into an ambient-type background.
John Cougar Concentration Camp Hot Shit BYO Records I've heard of JCCC before but hadn't heard their music until now. If you already know them you won't be disappointed with this release. This is angry, fast-paced punk. Not much substance, what with songs like "Cold Piss, Reece's Feces" and "Half-Ass Jedi," but that's the whole punk idea, isn't it?
Joshua A Whole New Theory Doghouse Records Solid melodic rock with a reggae influence. Joshua is far more polished than your average indie band with some slick production and good lyrics. Pick this up and check out the first track- sounds more like an early Police tune than most early Police tunes.
Kevin Coyne Sugar Candy Taxi Ruf Kevin Coyne gives us a very insane sort of drunken blues, with surprisingly well-conceived lyrics. It's not difficult to listen to in the slightest ... it's definitely got a light-hearted humor, an honesty, and a coolness about it which I just can't put my finger on. It all fits together so nicely.
Kilmer The Highlands And Lowlands self-released I read the press material that came with this and thought, "Just what we need - a couple more kids crying out in angst." But, much to my joy, this disc is really good. These guys play emo-rock with great skill and terrific power. Song number three, "Do I say goodbye?" won me over instantly. They deserve a listen.
Leatherface Cherry Knowle BYO Records This is pretty straight-forward punk. It sounds pretty good, though there is something that I just don't care for about the singer's voice. They have a good crunchy guitar sound and the music drives ahead at an admirable rate. Some of the songs are better than others but none are particularly outstanding. It's an okay disc.
Limp Fine Girl Fueled By Ramen Five little ditties to keep your Limp cravings in check. What can I tell you, this is pop-punk filled with harmonies. This was actually recorded in 1998, before "Guitarded," their second full-length. Fine Girl features ex-Screw 32 guitar player, Doug Sangalang, who replaced Billy, the original guitarist.
Lost Goat Equator Man's Ruin Records Following the current resurgence of metal into the mainstream is Lost Goat. Though not as radio accessible as the onslaught of Korn, Limp Bizkit and the other Rage-like bands, Lost Goat get right to basics. If you're in the mood for Black Sabbath and Saxon for the 90's, this is for you.
Lungfish The Unanimous Hour Dischord Records Lungfish are getting up there in years and it shows. Their latest effort, The Unanimous Hour, is solid stuff but after a while it begins to drone on a little. Take this album in small doses and pay close attention to the lyrics. Wow! These guys are tripping balls.
Magnet Shark Bait PC Music Catchy pop tunes from a bunch of different artists. There's tremendous wit in the sophomore release of this band featuring front man Mark Goodman and 17 other musicians from other bands in the vast alternative world. Each contributes a little to each and every composition, making every track unique from every other. There's some really great stuff here.
Mekons Where Were You? Hen's Teeth and Other Lost Fragments of Unpopular Culture Vol. 2 Quarterstick Records What the hell? A collection of B-sides and rare tracks by the already schizophrenic Mekons? It's not as weird as you might think, but it is very good stuff. There's some psychedelia ("Hashish in Marseilles"), mellow reggae ("1967 Revisited"), and country (a surprisingly faithful cover of "Folsom Prison Blues"). Oh, yeah, and lots of great English punk, too. You will dig something on this one, and the band has fun with it all. They've been around for 21 years, and hopefully will be around for many more. Definitely worth picking up if you haven't heard them before.
Miles Hunt Hairy On The Inside GIG Records This is one talented SOB. Miles spent a decade as singer, guitarist and songwriter for the UK band The Wonder Stuff. He's out on his own now on this acoustic CD. The songs here are very well crafted and the lyrics are thought-provoking at their worst, chilling in their finest. He reminds you at time of Robert Smith with just as much talent and intensity. Excellent disc.
Muckafurgason The Gay EP Deep Elm Records The premise of a gay-focused EP is brilliant, however, the execution lacks. Muckafurgason's previous full-length, "Tossing a Friend," crossed all musical boundaries. Rap, Country, Rock, Pop were all represented in that fine album. This EP doesn't vary beyond straight forward rock stylings lyrically and sonically. Sure, the "west" version of "You Ain't a Man" is a house remake, but where did the variety go? Unfortunately, after numerous listens, the most promising aspect of this EP is the title.
Mushroom analog hi-fi surprise innerSPACE records As their name suggests, Mushroom play some pretty trippy music. Taking a cue from 70s era jazz and fusion, they plow their way through seven tracks filled with mellotrons and moogs, Rhodes pianos and other keyboards, backed up by guitars, drums, and percussion. Four out of the seven songs are longer than 9 minutes, taking on an improvised feel. You can feel influences from the Doors, Return to Forever, Miles Davis, Can and Herbie Hancock, just to name a few.
Naked Raygun re-issue of material Quarterstick Classic, essential, and brilliant are all great words to describe "the" punk band of the Midwest. Starting in 1980, Naked Raygun introduced Chicago to their style of melodic rock that was totally punk featuring awesome hooks, sing-along choruses and angst-filled aggression. Now, their long out-of-print classics are available again. "Basement Scream" (1983), "Throb Throb" (1984), "All Rise" (1985), "Jettison" (1988), "Understand?" (1988) and "Raygun...Naked Raygun" (1990) are some of the greatest punk releases ever and are a must have for any fan of punk music.
New American Mob All Mob Cons RAFR Records This is no-frills punk. It's more like riff-rock really -- like punk was played 20 years ago. It's not too bad. They've got some good harmony and Kate, the drummer, more than holds her own with her male cohorts.
Novembers Doom Of Sculptured Ivy and Stone Flowers Martyr Music Group Novembers Doom will turn your mood into a sour one after you listen to "Of Sculptured Ivy and Stone Flowers." Vocalist Paul Kuhr's surprisingly understandable lyrics will haunt you in your dreams. Contrasting Kuhr's style is Cathy Jo Hejna (who recently left the band, along with drummer Emmett Hall), with her classically trained opera voice singing beautifully in the background. Even though this is doom metal, there are some beautiful parts to this album.
Octant shock-no-par Up Records What can I tell you, the drums play themselves. I don't mean a drum-machine. I mean a robot called Octant operates the drums. Different mallets are located above different parts of the drum kit and are operated by a computer. I have to admit, I would have never guessed. The whole thing is very trippy, with various computer-generated sounds all over the place. There are also two short films on this CD, to be viewed on your computer. Both are very low-budget stop-motion animation films set to one a song from the album.
Orange 9mm Pretend I'm Human Ng Records Try and duck this musical and lyrical onslaught from three-piece wrecking crew known as Orange 9mm. The ten tracks on this album are a totally new sound for the band - a mix of Prodigy, Pantera and Rage Against the Machine, creatively done and tweaked into a unique style. Chaka has skillz when it comes to his vocal flow and the music has catchy, gritty hooks and riffs that get under your skin and pump your blood, coupled with electronic beats and sounds that add an unusual aspect to the hard-edged compositions.
Organic Brain Syndrome self-titled Fatalist Records Whacked-out, a thousand times over. Holy cow, I can't believe this stuff. This is a bold amateur experiment from a trio of truly warped individuals. These folks have real potential. Much of this album sounds fuzzy, probably intentionally ... But it's whacked as hell, and that's always a good thing.
Panty Christ self-titled Seeland Records This is noise with a beat. At least there is often a beat somewhere in it. It's not particularly stellar noise, either. The minor novelty of this group is that the speaker is a transvestite (Boy George?). The monologues are mildly amusing, but Mr. Bond is too gay. He sounds like an annoying homosexual stereotype. Save your pennies, kids.
Pistis bread and circuses nowOrange records Pistis call their style of music "Rock, Indie Rock, Math Rock." After listening, I still don't know what Math Rock is, but I'm calling it Lassitude Rock. It brought to mind the early '90's work of Stone Roses; lots of laid back, yet intense guitar with almost monotone vocals. The lyrics are smart, and, under the right influences, probably thought provoking. Lay back and enjoy the lassitude.
Pulpit Red Lurk Syncretist Records I was intrigued by song titles like "Jackbooth Janitor" and "Freak Show." It is with a heavy heart though that I must admit that the actual songs do not live up to the potential set by their nomenclature. This is okay punk, but certainly not great. Some songs are kind of catchy, but on the whole, I must say that this disc left me a bit cold.
Retromotive Corpses and Tightrope Walkers Maelstrom This disc is okay, and that's about the best I can say for it. The band does eschew normal song structure, but this relative novelty is not enough to save strictly mediocre music. It is gloomy and slow, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but there does not seem to be enough actual feeling behind it to make it seem believable.
Rodriguez Swing Like A Metronome Devil In The Woods Records This has a Son Volt flair to it mostly, but they delve into some emo and indie pop as well. The singer's voice gets a little burdensome at times as he tries too hard to make you feel sorry for him, like Neil Young after a REALLY bad day. Not bad in small doses.
Scared of Chaka Tired of You Sub City Straddling the line between garage, power pop and hardcore, Scared of Chaka unleash a sonically and lyrically sounding CD. Though it starts heavy with the first few tracks, the sound lightens up though their songwriting remains strong throughout. It's nice to hear diversity on a record- it allows listeners a relief from monotony. Also note that this CD is more than music- proceeds of all sales go to New Day Youth and Family Services, a non-profit agency in New Mexico. Cheers to Scared of Chaka for putting out a good record on a community enhancing label.
Sheilbound Counting On Abacus Playing Field Records I think it's time to create a new genre. Let me introduce you to ... Emo-punk. Oh, let me guess, it's been around forever, right? Uh-huh. Well, this is the first time I've heard it and if the rest of it is like Sheilbound then thank you, sir, may I have another? This is really cool and has been in my rotation for the past few weeks now. If you don't like in your face, balls to the wall punk but still want that rock-out vibe with a pinch of indie/emo rock, this is it.
Six Going on Seven Heartbreak's Got Backbeat Some Records Six Going on Seven's second full-length, Heartbreak's Got Backbeat, finds our heroes serving up some more of that emo the kids can't get enough of nowadays. The songs are well crafted, but lack the intensity to truly draw the listener in. The production is almost too good, as some of the songs sound excessively clean and polished. Maybe I've become overly accustomed to lo-fi rock, but these tunes could use a more dirt under the fingers.
Skull Kontrol Deviate Beyond All Means Of Capture Touch and Go Records These guys seem to have good intentions. They're against selling out and all that stuff bands strive to be but, unfortunately, their music isn't as good as their intentions. It's some kind of experimental punk thing but it doesn't fly.
Sleepyhead The Brighter Shore Sealed Fate Records Tired of all that angry-I-wanna-kill-myself-and-everyone-else music? Sleepyhead is for you. As their name evokes, this is light, airy indie pop. They have some psychedelic sounds in here, along with some crunchy guitars and groovy hooks. Fast forward right to track seven, turn on the lava lamp and, like, mellow out, man.
Slipknot self titled Roadrunner Records Three percussionists, two guitar players, one bass player, one DJ, and one "sample master" make up this outfit. Nine freaks from Des Moinesdraped in industrial coveralls, and surrealistic self-made masks, create a sound that combines violently regurgitated "L.A. neo-metal," death metal, hip-hop, and downtuned screeching horror to bring fear to anyone who dares to listen to their madness. Their names are 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and their music sounds a bit like Fear Factory and Pantera in the middle of a bar brawl.
Snapcase/Boy Sets Fire Split EP Equal Vision Records There are only 4 songs on this disc and that is unfortunate. This is a good EP, though I will admit that I am partial to Snapcase. Both bands play good hardcore but Snapcase (who cover a Police tune for one of their two tracks) seems a bit more... well... hardcore. It is, however, a good disc.
Studbull's Disco Biscuit Return of the Super Zeros Sin Klub Entertainment Ambitious, funky Ohio hardcore with guitar riffs hot enough to boil your bong water. They rock, they toke and they watch zombie movies- what more could you ask for? Some better lyrics, maybe. All in all, though, solid stuff.
Sunday's Best Where You Are Now Crank! Records Where You Are Now is the debut EP for this Los Angeles quartet. Despite guitarist Pedro Benito's assertions that they are "a cross between the Police and Foghat," Sunday's Best isn't about to pop up on any classic rock station's playlist. The band plays a Seam-like indie rock, with the occasional foray into emo territory. It ain't no "Slowride" (thankfully enough), just a promising debut.
Super Furry Animals Guerrilla Flydaddy Records For a Welsh band that started out as a techno outfit, Super Furry Animals sure have a good handle on guitar driven Britpop. Their electronic background is evident, though, with every "ping" and "beep" that surfaces along the way. SFA dubs their style as "Digital Beach Music," blending '60s pop, Glam, Krautrock, 90s rave culture, and even a little bit of Latin percussion. "Northern Lights" features said percussion, and some calypso drums to add a Caribbean feel. Even the High Llamas stop by to lend their talents to the melodic "Turning Tide."
The Ataris Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits Kung Fu Records Punk rock doesn't get much catchier than this. Back with another full-length record is The Ataris. There isn't a bad track on this record, which moves at an uptempo pace combining superb melodies with great tempo changes and killer vocals. This is one hell of a fun record.
The Chinkees Peace Through Music Asian Man Records Ska without the horns. I like this disc. It is well performed and has a positive message to boot. The songs are catchy, entertaining and fun. They sound like old-type ska, a bit more relaxed and slower than the ska we typically hear today, punked-out too far. These Chinkees are well worth listening to.
The Donnas Get Skintight Lookout! Records I love The Donnas! I love their music, too. I'm sure you've heard of this all-girl (all young girl) punk band by now. They're taking the country by storm with their blend of no-frills numbers. These girls play punk with reckless abandon, the way it was meant to be. And they don't pretend to be some emotional, save the earth pseudo band that tries to make us think when we can't even understand the words. Every single song is a keeper and their cover of Motley Crue's "Too Fast For Love" is genius. Four stars, two thumbs up, five exploding bomb symbols...whatever you want to call it. This is just too fun to pass up.
The Fairlanes Bite Your Tongue Suburban Home Records I've said it before and doggonit, I'll say it again; these guys rock. This is fun pop-punk in the way of the Queers, which immediately makes it good. It is unfortunate that there are only 8 songs on the disc (including a delightful Madonna cover) but we can hope that their next disc will have ten thousand songs on it, all as good as these. This is a disc that you should buy two copies of, because you will wear one out. Trust me.
The Impossibles Anthology Fueled by Ramen YES! This album unfortunately marks the end of The Impossibles, an Austin, Texas four-piece with a sharp smartness to their punk rock attitude. Sad to see this jewel of a band go into the annals of history, but it's very nice to have this anthology with which to remember them... a band I hardly knew
The Jackie Papers I'm In Love Panic Button Three chicks and one guy seem like it may add up to musical nirvana, but this disc does not live up to its potential. The songs are mediocre punk with a rock-n-roll slant to them. They do try some different things, which make it interesting, but on the whole this is not a super disc.
The Mullens Go Where The Action Is Get Hip Recordings The Mullens aren't the slickest band out there, but they are a hell of a good time. Rough sounding with simple lyrics and rhythms. The Mullens won't break new ground any time soon, but that's okay. Forget the politics and such. Just enjoy!
The Pietasters Awesome Mix Tape #6 Epitaph Records It's not a mix tape, it's the newest album from one of the smoothest ska bands around. Featured on this new release are 13 toe-tappin', head-bobbin' tracks. The music is very traditional when it comes to ska and that's sure to help you "get your groove on." The vocals are awesome, the horn section is tight and the music is catchy and ska-rrific (HA!). So go find a fancy outfit and some shiny shoes, pop the Pietasters in the stereo and rock till the early morn.
The Sons of Hercules Get Lost Get Hip This bad ass band from San Antonio give you garage punk at its best, my garage-punk-loving minions. Yelling and extended guitar solos... I just wanna play this and drive around with the windows down giving people nasty-ass looks. That's what it's all about, baby. Gotta have the attitude.
The Stereo Three Hundred Fueled By Ramen Ex-Impossibles and Animal Chin members, Rory and Jaime, join to form the new rock for the millenium -- adding piano and keyboard to their already skilled guitar, bass and drum work. Tight melodies that are sweet as sugar and hooks that could cause a car wreck are the prescription for their success. J. Robbins produced this along with the guys and his brilliant touch shines through. Melding the sounds of such greats as Journey, Weezer and Elton John (worlds apart, but pop all the same), this release will wrap around you and swallow you whole.
The Wicked Farleys Sustained Interest EP Big Top Records The Wicked Farleys' new EP serves as a good introduction to the Massachusetts band, featuring both new and previously released material. The music has touches of math rock mixed with a more melodic pop sound. And, as an added bonus, the Farleys cover the Mysterians classic, "96 Tears", complete with the cheesy sounding keyboards that made the original so cool.
Toilet Boys Living Like A Millionaire RAFR Records I heard about this band on the Howard Stern Show. If you've listened to Howard you know the routine: some stupid chick comes on the show and agrees to take her top off if Howard plays a song from her favorite band's CD. Well, I heard the show the day some stupid chick came on and flashed Stern to play a cut from the Toilet Boys. I don't remember what track he played because it was so bad. So, when I saw they had a whole CD, I felt it my service to you, the public, to tip you off before you bit on a catchy name and some snazzy-looking outfits. This is a six-song EP that starts out punk, ends up metal and there's nothing good in between. That chick should have kept her shirt on.
Tom Waits Mule Variations Epitaph Records The old master of drunken melancholy returns! This guy has been there and done that, and you can hear every step of the journey in his voice. Waits gives us some of his best piano bar blues in years and even threatens to get funky with side trips like "Big In Japan" (featuring Les Claypool and Larry LaLonde of Primus). Excellent music for the last leg of that road trip.
Trial Are These Our Lives? Equal Vision Records Right then, who's pissed off? Can't find your Cro-Mags disc? No sweat, just flip this onto your player and get f'ing hostile! The first song is, oddly enough, a beautiful accompaniment on strings, kind of a calm before the storm thing, and then these guys get hardcore like nobody's business. OK, then they throw more strings in there on track seven, but who's counting? It's hardcore, OK? Trust me.
Various Artists ESPN Presents...Jock Rock 2000 Tommy Boy Music This is the perfect CD to remind you of all the songs that have been played to death by commercial radio stations all over the country. How they are supposed to be related to sports is beyond me. Tell you what...I'll tell you the band name, and you guess the song. Prodigy. Harvey Danger. Third Eye Blind. Barenaked Ladies. Fatboy Slim. Local H. The Chemical Brothers. Cherry Poppin' Daddies. CIV. These are just a few. If you did not guess the song names, maybe you should buy this album. If you did guess them, skip it because you're probably sick of them anyway.
Various Artists Return of the Read Menace Honest Don's/AK Press If AK Press is involved in a musical release, you know it's more than just your middle of the road music. This compilation features 25 songs from 25 bands - all forward thinking, enlightened individuals fighting to make our world better. Stand out tracks include songs by J Church, ...But Alive, Ron Hawkins, The Levellers, Atom and His Package, Discount, Moral Crux, and Cooper. Please ignore the tracks by Wat Tyler, Chumbawamba and DOA. For the most part and the $8.98 price - this is a killer release.
Various Artists Sealed Fate Mystique Sealed Fate "A stunning collection of end-of the century music," this compilation of the Sealed Fate label's finest is a benefit for the AIDS Action Committee, and feature 15 great pop bands from all over the damned place including Purple Ivy Shadows, Future Bible Heroes, Beachwood Sparks, Honeybunch and more.
Various Artists Take Action Sub City This punk rock sampler sends its proceeds to the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Which doesn't seem fair, blind people can't see the punch coming. If you're a punk fan you can't go wrong with Sub City. The tracks vary from very good punk (Scared of Chaka) to very drunken punk (Falling Sickness) but in all a damn good compilation. Besides it's for a good cause. Go buy it.
Various Artists The East Coast of Oi! Radical Records This is the kind of CD that would make Bob Dole want to put down his Viagra in favor of entering a mosh pit in oxblood boots with a cheap canned beer in his hand. It started off a little slow with The Wretched Ones' "Welcome to the East Coast". Apparently, that's where they drink the most. But as the tracks changed I was wishing I were out there in the fray, instead of sitting at home listening by the glow of the computer. With groups like The Outsiders, The Cuffs, Man's Ruin and Heidnick Stew leading the fury, this is a must buy.
Various Artists Punk's Not Dead: A Tribute to The Exploited Radical Records This is a must-own record for any self respecting punk or The Exploited fan. The music is aggressive street rock by a list of excellent Oi! and punk including Blanks 77, Violent Society, The Bruisers, and Squiggy doing a nice rendition of one of my favorite Exploited songs, "Fuck the Mods." Joy comes in Niblick Henbane's inclusion of my favorite song "Sex and Violence" in their rendition of "Cop Cars." Though I'm wary of tributes, this one is dead-on perfect. The music is tops, and the liner notes alone are worth the cost of the CD.
Various Artists Unsealed: A Tribute to the Go-Go's 4 Alarm Records This tribute to the Go-Go's is extremely fun, a fitting tribute to the poppy '80s girl group. Rather than emulate the original versions note for note, the artists here use them as a starting point to leap into their own realm. Perhaps the most successful is electronic deconstruction of Season to Risk's cover of "This Town," and the lo-fi sampling fun of The Frog's take on "Vacation" with a funny "whatever" tossed in intermittently. Other bands that contribute are the Chainsaw Kittens, and a sitar medley courtesy of Allon Beausoliel, plus others. Pretty much all the Go-Go's classics are here, and the interpretations are more inventive when they don't go the heavy route.
Various Artists Where Is My Mind?: A Tribute to the Pixies Glue Factory Records Upon first listen, I hated this CD. Most of the renditions sounded just like the Pixies, so much that I longed to hear the reckless abandon of the inspiring originals rather than covers. However, with time apart from this CD, I'm okay with it, and actually have developed a love-hate relationship with the disc. On the love side, good bands covers some great songs. On the hate side, the covers are just like the originals, so what's the point, particularly when Pixies' original label 4AD has re-released their best records (Come On Pilgrim; Surfer Rosa; Doolittle). The bands involved in this that turn out good covers are: Weezer, The Get-Up Kids, Superdrag, with Nada Surf doing a lovely rendition of "Where is My Mind?," the first Pixies song I ever heard. All heard, I recommend this disc to old fans and those who missed the Pixies their first go-around.
Victory at Sea The Dark is Just the Night Slowdime Darkness settles on you as you flow depressingly through the melancholy work of this Boston three-piece. Excellent vocals make this album somewhat of a haunting lullaby gone into spirits decayed. Very well done.
SEVEN INCH REVIEWS
Computer Cougar self-titled Gern Blansten This record is thick, literally -- the vinyl is heavy duty. The music is active, jumping all over the place with awesome guitar parts and tempo changes to keep you wide awake. One track has vocals that are half-spoken and sung, that sounds good, while the other song is screamed, which I don't like. Frankly, these songs would be great without vocals, anyway.
Fishsticks/Hostile Takeover split Alohoa Records The Fishsticks are all about punk rock and they like it fast. One their side you get a large serving of five, fast and furious tunes in the old school punk rock vein (e.g., Angry Samoans, DRI)--including a near-perfect cover of the Misfits' "Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?" Hostile Takeover are a completely different monster, delivering one track of 80s synth stuff along the lines of New Order with a bit more rockin' sound.
Forstella Ford Arcebus vs. Archer 404 Records Hold on tight cause you're about to be both musically and verbally assaulted. Four guys get outta control on the two tracks featured here. It's hardcore with an indie-music creativeness. I could do without the screamed vocals, though.
Mad Parade self-titled Dr. Strange Records Pretty blue vinyl blessed with four-tracks worth of aggressive, melodic punk filled with insightful, intelligent lyrics. This is limited to only 950 copies so you better get one quick.
Stewart Brodian Hot for Preacher self-released This is a one-man, singer/songwriter deal with the kind of tunes you'd expect to hear at open-mic night. They are catchy, poppy acoustic gems with clever lyrics and decent vocals.
The Starlite Desperation Hot for Preacher Gold Standard Laboratories The two tracks on here are garage rock and roll with a touch of blues. It makes you want to drive a hot rod really, really fast with one arm on the steering wheel and the other wrapped ound your significant other in a proud way, snarling all the time.
Release a documentary by Brian Sersen Victory Records Some will like this, but I don't care for it. Maybe if this was old footage or candid shots of the bands on tour I'd be more interested, but it's mostly live footage with voice-overs and some commentary by musicians and fans. It features great bands like Weston, Lifetime, Ignite, Bouncing Souls, Good Riddance, Sick of It All, Battery and tons more. So, if you like to see concerts on video, you'll really dig it cause the sound and quality is pretty good and they do sit down and chat with some of the included bands. But if you're looking to get behind the scenes, this won't take you far.
RECORD LABEL ADDRESSES
Aesthetics, PO Box 577286, Chicago, IL 60657
In alphabetical order. Please write them.
All Natural, c/o David Kelly, 8141 S. Michigan Ave., 2nd Fl., Chicago, IL 60619
Asian Man Records, PO Box 35585, Monte Sereno, CA 95030
Bizerk!, 125 Clarrige Dr., Willow Grove, PA 19090
Bloodshot Records, 912 W. Addison, Chicago IL 60613
BNS Productions, PO Box 423875, San Francisco, CA 94142
Bong Load Records, PO Box 39557, LA, CA 90039-0557
Box Car Records, PO Box 1141, Melbourne, FL 32902-1141
BYO Records, PO Box 67A64, LA, CA 90067
Class B Records, 1846 W. Armitage, Chicago, IL 60622
Crustacean Records, PO Box 370156, Milwaukee, WI 53237
Deep Elm, PO Box 1965, New York, NY 10156
Del-Fi Records, 8271 Melrose Ave #103, Los Angeles, Ca. 90046
Devil Doll Records, PO Box 30727, Long Beach, CA 90853
Devil In The Woods, PO Box 11348, Berkeley, CA 94712
Dischord Records, 3819 Beecher St., NW, Washington, DC 20007
Dog Day Records, 4432 Telegraph Ave. #72, Oakland, CA 94609
Dr. Strange Records, PO Box 7000-117, Alta Loma, CA 91701
Dynamo Hum, PO Box 9253, Calabasas, CA 91372
ear X-tacy, 1534 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY 40205-1156
Egon, 3209 N. Stanton, El Paso, TX 79902
Elevator Music, PO Box 1502, New Haven, CT 06505
Epitaph Records, 2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Equal Vision Records, PO Box 14, Hudson, NY 12534
Exit Records, PO Box 263, New York, NY 10012
Fat Wreck Chords, PO Box 193690, San Francisco, CA 94779-3690
Fuzzy Comets, c/o Chris Carnevali, 625 Edmond St., Pittsburgh, PA 15224
G-7, PO Box 3-905, Corydon, Winnipeg, MB, R3M-3S3, Canada
Gern Blandsten Records, PO Box 356, River Edge, NJ 07661
Get Hip Records, PO Box 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317
Go Kart, PO Box 20, Prince Street Station, NY, NY 10012
Guilt Ridden Pop, 2217 Nicollet Avenue, So. Minneapolis, MN 55404
Harmless Records, 1437 W. Hood, Chicago, IL 60660
Hellcat Records, 2798 Sunset Blvd., LA, CA 90026
Honest Donıs, PO Box 192027, San Francisco, CA 94119
Initial Records, PO Box 17131, Louisville, KY 40217
Inzane Records, 4570 Van Nuys Blvd., Ste. 303, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Jade Tree, 2310 Kennwynn Rd., Wilmington, DE 19810
Jonesbox, 173 Gates St., Palm Bay, FL 32908
K Records, PO Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507
Konkurrent c/o Southern, PO Box 577375, Chicago, IL 60657
Kool Arrow Records, 5902 Monterrey Road #666, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Liberation Records, PO Box 17746, Anaheim, CA 92817
Lookout! Records, PO Box 11374, Berkeley, CA 94712-2374
Makoto Recordings, PO Box 50403, Kalamazoo, MI 49005
Man's Ruin Records, 610 22nd Street #302, San Francisco, CA 94107
MIA Records, 315 Church St., 2nd Fl., NY, NY 10013
Mindwalk, PO Box 22514, Philadelphia, PA 19110-2514
Mordam Records, PO Box 420988, San Francisco, CA 94124-0988
My Own Planet, PO Box 95921, Seattle, WA 98145
Nitro Records, 7071 Warner Ave. F-736, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Noisome Records, PO Box 3570, Lawrence, KS 66046
Nu Gruv Alliance, 430 E. Grand Ave., Complex B, So. San Fran, CA 94080
Panic Button, PO Box 148010, Chicago, IL 60614-8010
Peachy Way, 16843 Valley Blvd., Ste. E509, Fontana, CA 92335
Pessimiser, PO Box 1070, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Polyvinyl Records, PO Box 1885, Danville, IL 61834
Pop Rock It, PO Box 163124, Sacramento, CA 95816-9124
Quarterstick Records, PO Box 25342, Chicago, IL 60625
Revelation Records, PO Box 5232, Huntington Beach, CA, 92615-5232
Rocket Dog Records, PO Box 70397, 1007 KJ Amsterdam, Holland
Rockhouse Recordings, 52 Collis Street, West Haven, CT 06516
Sealed Fate Records, PO Box 9183 #120, Cambridge, MA 02139
Sessions Records, 15 Janis Way, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Seth Yacovone Blues Band, Box 112 Winooski, VT 05404
Side 1, 6201 Sunset Blvd., Suite 211, Hollywood, CA 90028
Skunk Records, 6285 E. Spring Street, #234, Long Beach, CA 90808
Soda Jerk Records, PO Box 4056, Boulder, CO 80306
Sonic Unyon, PO Box 57347, Jackson Station, Hamilton, ON Canada 18P 4X2
Southern Records, PO Box 577375, Chicago, IL 60657
Steadman, PO Box 85, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1WA, UK
Sub City, PO Box 7495, Van Nuys, CA 91409
Suburban Home, 1750 30th Street, #365, Boulder, CO 80301
SugarDaddy Productions, PO Box 328, Zieglersville, PA 19492
Suicidal Records, 6201 Sunset Blvd., Suite 211, Hollywood, CA 90028
Super 6 Records, PO Box 76022, St. Petersburg, FL 33734
Through Being Cool, PO Box 1460, NY, NY 10009
Time Bomb Records, 219 Broadway #519, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Tomato Head Records, PO Box 61298, Sunnyvale, CA 94088-1298
Tommy Boy, 902 Broadway, NY, NY 10010
Torque Records, PO Box 229, Arlington, VA 22210-0229
Touch and Go Records, PO Box 25520, Chicago, IL 60625
Truckstop/Atavistic, 2255 S. Michigan Ave. #4W, Chicago, IL 60616
Trustkill Records, 23 Farm Edge Lane, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724
Twee Kitten Records, 1547 Palos Verdes Mall #213, Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Will Records, 1122 East Pike #511, Seattle WA 98122
World Domination, 4509 Interlake Ave. N., #201, Seattle, WA 98103
Zap Records, PO Box 808, Seal Beach, CA 90740-0808
Music reviews from past issues: