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Adhesive Sideburner Onefoot Records This is 1996 release coming out in 98. Hmm. The music has a lot of momentary breaks and shifts, with lots of harmonizing on the vocals. The lyrics are very well written and that's what makes this band good, though the music is kind of what has been coined the Fat Wreck sound. But still, it's good to hear someone sing socially relevant lyrics with good production behind them. Particularly when English is their second language! Not angry, kind of relaxing, you'll probably like it if you're into poppy punk.

All Out War Truth In the Age of Lies Next Step Up Fall From Grace Next Step Up Intent To Kill Edgewise Silent Rage Terror Zone Self Realization: A True Lesson in Hardcore Fury of Five No Reason To Smile Dutch East India Trading Co. I'm placing these reviews together as they were originally released by Gain Ground in 95 and are now being re-released and distro'd by Dutch East India Trading. All these bands are similar in that they play hardcore. All Out War embrace death metal and fuse it hardcore. The throat ripping vocal delivery is undecipherable at first but a lyric sheet will guide you through their phenomenal writing. The music is fast, galloping, hard and I really like it as some tracks are pure death metal, and others split between hardcore and death metal. Next Step Up play with deep vocals with moshable riffs and breakdowns. Next Step Up's full-length "Fall From Grace" evoke a gut response from me with their slowed down riffing and lyrics of apocalypse. "Intent to Kill" is a 5 song ep and continues with a first person slant to more personal and political issues. The Edgewise record was originally released in 1990, and still holds up with their barking vocals and energy. Terror Zone are metal influenced and are medium speed, with great breakdowns and a running thread between the songs. Seems the lead singer was sold out by a band mate and put in jail. This album reflects the betrayal, anger and ultimate growth in that time. Fury of Five are an odd one, at once projecting a hard image yet taking a softer approach to some of the vocals. I give them credit for experimenting with hardcore and metal and still remaining audible. Though some tracks sink, if you like metal mixed with your hardcore, this may appeal to you. . In summation, I was at first leery to the re-release of these disks. However, it appears to be a matter of the music, not money.

Amon Amarth Once Sent From The Golden Hall MetalBlade Records I think just reviewing this makes me a satanist. This is death metal that's been killed by something dead which was just murdered by a dead thing that has death all over it from something it just killed and left for dead. I think I can honestly say I've never heard anything as heavy or dead in my life.

Bankhead This won't hurt a bit self-released This alternates between pop and ska feelings. And while it's an earnest effort, it doesn't distinguish itself from other bands that focus on either style of music save for the lyrics. "Happy Drug" is a sweet friendship song that should be dedicated to all those lonely hearts reading this. If you're lovesick, actually, I think this might be therapeutic for you.

Battery Whatever it takes ... Revelation Battery plays straight forward wall of sound hardcore with very emotional lyrics about loss and growth. The singing takes a while to get adjusted to, but that's not a bad thing, it's just different from the standard growls, scream-singing and deep barking of other hardcore bands. To his credit the singer's vocal style changes throughout the record and his delivery rules on 'Leave it Behind" rules. Battery has issues of the heart to express, and do it in a more effective manner than too much emo that's dropped the "core" for weak indy pop. Give this a listen!

Braid Frame & Canvas Polyvinyl Record Co. If you only had enough money to buy one CD, make it this one. I mean that with all my heart. I haven't rushed through this review ... instead, I've listened to this damn CD at least once every day for the last three weeks. It is incredible. I'm sure it'll get grouped in the emocore category, but it doesn't belong cause it is so much better than those other bands (e.g.: Get Up Kids, Promise Ring, Muler etc...). Braid features ex-Friction drummer/vocalist, Robert Nana (he sings and plays guitar in Braid). And let me tell you, Nana knows how to rock. Their changes are untraditional and right on, their vocals are well-sung (and emotionally screamed at all the right times). The overall feel is so damn complete. Oh, and don't forget that the lyrics are intelligent. Read 'em. Listen. Enjoy.

Brownie Mary Naked The Blackbird Recording Co. Produced by Kevin Moloney (U2, Sinead O'Connor), this band's major label debut doesn't disappoint. Lead singer Kelsey Barber's voice can go from an angry Liz Phair to a sweet Shirley Manson in a second. The music is mainly pop, laced with some ambient and loop sounds (as well as bagpipes!). This is a great beginning for this band; you'll hear more of them in the future.

Calexico The Black Light Quarterstick Records This is an interesting CD, focusing on Latin style guitars and rhythms. They do such a great job of capturing the eeriness of this sound. As others are mining surf and rock-a-billy for inspiration, it's nice to hear Latin music reinterpreted by current musicians. This succeeds as an instrumental album with steady rhythms to keep you involved. (the singing on the title track added nothing to the feel of the track and pulled me away). This sounds like a movie soundtrack, which is neat as you can imagine your own scenarios while listening to it. Give this a chance. You'll probably feel cultured for it.

Cheeky Monkey Four Arms to Hold You Big Deal Records Their name would imply a happy, funny kind of band and, ironically enough, that's what these guys are. Cheeky Monkey is on two guys --Francis MacDonald and Michael Shelley-- yet their songs sound way bigger. With big hooks and great harmonizing, this is a pop-lover's dream.

Coax Fear of Standing Still Paradigm Records This is brit pop which should appeal to folks who like 80's music. This release has nice pop songs without any bite, and Coax are not the best of their genre and no where near advancing that style of music. For this, they have limited appeal to my tastes.

Crimpshrine Duct Tape Soup Lookout Records I remember listening to this in '93 after Green Day and pop-punk took over Gainesville. Crimpshrine pre-dated Green Day, and featured Aaron Cometbus of Cometbus zine and Jeff Ott, now in Fifteen. This cd was recorded a decade ago in 1988 & 89, and contains a great insert booklet just like the original. This music's held up well enough to transcend time and affect a whole new generation of teenagers with it's poppy feel and universal-in- the-personal lyrics. Sure we've had this music reiterated by other folks over the course of this decade but hey, it's okay.

Diesel Boy Venus Envy Honest Don's Records This is punk. Any questions? Yes. No. That's a little personal. Where was I? Oh yes, Diesel Boy plays really tight, high-energy punk. They can go from groovy to balls-out in just a nano-second, so don't get too used to it. They'll keep your feet moving and your mind guessing.

Dirty Three Ocean Songs Touch and Go It's a recording such as this that makes music reviewing such a joy. This is an full-length featuring violins, violas, pianos, as well as percussion, and no singing to mar the beautiful soundscapes. The music is melancholy, slow paced, yet contains an air of liberation which allows to escape into the rise and fall of the songs. If it helps to know Steve Albini produced this, well, he did. There are too many reasons for you to like this, so pick it up NOW.

Doormats Edge of Insanity Cold Front Records This is the new effort by Bil McRackin ('member the McRackins and their egg costume schtick?) This release will put a smile on your face, what with it's "Oh-ooh's" and wailing guitar solos. The music is fast and a lot of the songs take the similar approach and have great choruses. It's more rock for you punks!

Falling Sickness Because the world has failed us both Hopeless Records Combine a vocal delivery like Less Than jake, with punk, pop punk and ska sounds (wait, that's LTJ!), and better choruses than songs (not LTJ) on the punk tracks and you have Falling Sickness. The choruses are really great on the punk numbers. Everything else about the punk stuff just doesn't match up to the it. The ska tracks are good, as are the pop punk tracks. But that LTJ comparison holds too much water to ignore.

FiELd dAy Emerald and Jaded Devil Doll Records This is a compilation of Field Day's first two CD's, "Friction" and "Big Wheels." If you've already heard those you know this is quality punk. It's a little hookier and tighter than most punk out there, but it's good like that. Change is good.

Good Riddance Ballads from the Revolution Fat Wreck Chords Boy oh boy! Good Riddance is a damn fine band. I really enjoyed their last album, and if you liked that, then you're bound to like the new one. Uptempo, full-bodied hardcore/punk rock. Their songs are loaded with melodic anger, smooth vocals and a sense of social activism that makes their music that much more relevant.

Hard Skin Hard Nuts and Hard Cunts Broken Rekids From London comes extremely catchy street punk from Hard Skin. This is really great stuff, kids! If you've never listened to Oi!, I recommend this as a first disk cuz it's just so much fun and catchy. You'll be singing along after the second track. Heck, they were on the cover of MRR last year. It's hard to find music so instantly likable. Get it!

Hot Stove Jimmy Salute Jump Up! Records Chicago's Hot Stove Jimmy will make you shake your ass with their "new skool" sound. Circus-style keyboards, strong horns and two guitars provide the backdrop for the rough, melodic vocals that overflow with energy. Loved the "My Girl" and "Sweet Caroline" covers.

Mondo Topless Fifty Thousand Dollar Hand Job 360 Twist! Records This Pennsylvania quartet delivers a unique brand of power pop, spiced up a bit with a Vox Continental Organ and harmonicas. At times they reminded me of the Delta 72, and at others of They Might Be Giants.

Muckafurgason Tossing a friend Deep Elm Records The inside photo on the booklet accurately describes the type of music on a mixing board: pop, country, indie, rap, and old timey, with -20 dbs of Rock. This is very original and entertaining music in it's unpredictable and witty arrangements and vocals. "Spanish Fly" pays homage to mariachi musicianship, complete with harmonizing and trumpet. Then you have a heart-break country ballad in "Crying." I'm assuming they appropriate these tracks out of sincere respect for the history of country and other styles, though a track like punk rock is definitely mockery. It's nice to hear such a great record cover so much ground. Listen to this NOW!

Mustard Plug Skapocalypse Now! Hopeless Records The consumer warning says this is a reissue of their '92 release, but I don't know if this is to mean "Big Daddy Multitude" or one before that. Nonetheless, this is poppy ska with nice liner notes and fun tracks that will make you smile: "Summertime," an alternate take of "Thigh High Nylons" with a better rap than on "BDM," and others you may enjoy. A lot of ska present day has turned towards traditional Jamaican style and a lot of fans have disowned this style of music that got them into ska in the first place. Heck, give this a spin. It's good music by good people. Dig it!

New Bomb Turks At Rope's End Epitaph Records Hey punk! No, not you, I mean this is punk. The New Bomb Turks have been banging it around for a while now and they've garnered quite a following. And it's no wonder. With their brand of full-bore, high intensity punk (and a little rockabilly on this one), you too will soon be a Turk.

Overcast fight ambition to kill Edison Recordings Wow. This is powerful metal/hardcore. I wasn't familiar with this band until now but I'm becoming more and more familiar with them daily. This quintet puts out serious power. They've opened for the likes of Napalm Death and Deicide and I think it's time they headline on their own. With tunes like "More Metal Than Your Ma's Kettle," you know what you're in for.

Pro-Pain Pro-Pain Mayhem Records Hardcore. Pure and simple. Pro-pain is better at hardcore than most politicians are at soliciting sex. Hell, they're better! And to see them live is a whole other level of hardcore. Their CD is a nice appetizer to what these guys do live. Buy the CD, go see them live and try to remember where you live.

Quintaine Americana Decade of the Brain Roadrunner Records This is no frills, groove-infected, angry rock. These guys play mean music and talk about whatever they damn well please. Don't expect to uplifted by this, unless literally, like in mosh pit. This is very refreshing if you dig hardcore/metal because it ain't the same old formula. Helmet, Girls Against Boys, Tool ... you'll hear their sounds here.

Richard Kastle Royce Concerto Yum Recordings Richard Kastle gained initial fame for playing classical piano in a leather jacket and bright colored hair. He's also toured with Jay Leno as his opening act. This disk is a classical arrangement performed and composed by Richard Kastle. The attempt to crossover to the youth market is sincere, but it may fail because of the damn packaging! The music is lush and beautiful, and may get you hooked on like arrangements. The cover does nothing to communicate this. Don't judge this album by it's cover. It contains overly talented musicianship that may be passed over due to overly weak design work.

Richard Mortimer Garden of Pleasure Parts 1&2 self-released This disk is apparently a one-man effort, from concept to completion. Which is good if the individual is skilled enough to cover their weaknesses, but alas, here we have a gothic sounding record with simple beats and minimal arrangements, the result of technology that allows one to make and mix a record in the home studio. I'm a bit distraught by all this cuz it's so long without much variety. I guess it was more exciting and fun to make this than listen to.

Schleprock A Long Time Ago Cool Guy Records This is a collection of rarities and never released material from now-defunct punkers Schleprock. If you're a fan, you need this now. If you aren't, this is a good one to have. Although the production is a bit lacking, it's a good litmus test. If you like this, you'll love their other stuff.

Screeching Weasel Major Label Debut Panic Button Records I've often heard of Screeching Weasel in the punk circles, but have only now listened to them. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I've been missing out on one of the most intense punk bands out there. These guys don't give a damn about anything but playing music and having fun. Ain't that what it's all about?

Smart Went Crazy con art Dischord Records First of all, this CD has great art. Second, it contains a disc of great music. This is emo/indie rock. SWC is a five piece, two guitar, drums, bass and then toss in a cello to create a unique and wild sound. They have a really smooth sound with quirky changes. The vocals are mostly male-fronted, although their cello player (girl) sometimes takes over.

Soulfly self-titled Roadrunner Records Two words for you: Max Cavalera. Ring a bell? Let me try this one: Sepultura. Now, you've got it, huh? Sepultura was a heavy metal Brazilian band that woke up us Americans. Now ex-Sepultura frontman and founder, Cavalera has launched Soulfly. Losing none of his own sound and picking up a little more groove, Soulfly is poised on filling the void left by Sepultura's break-up.

Speak 714 Knee Deep In Guilt Revelation Records Dan O'Mahoney, the fallen sXe singer of 80's No For An Answer, provides vocals and lyrics for ten tracks of extremely catchy and melodic HARDCORE. He's lived through straight edge and alcoholism, so the lyrics reflect this maturity and continuing anger. Upon first listen I was instantly hooked. Then I read the lyric sheet and had twice the reason to enjoy this disk. It's personal lyrics about personal accountability and individuality and the course life takes us from teenage beliefs to the rest of your life. Speak 714 allows the listener to continue on the positive trip hardcore was to have. This is the best hardcore record I've heard in too long. Go out and buy a copy for yourself and your best friend right now. This is a disk you MUST share, more spiritually fulfilling than the best Krishna effort and cathartic than the loudest angriest demonic grindcore, all through the beauty of - you got it- hardcore and melody. It's cool that someone has put out a record that places self- acceptance and understanding over being accepted and understood by others.

Stuck Mojo Rising Century Media Metal fans know who the hell Stuck Mojo is. These guys play Southern-fried, groovin' metal that is just plain sick. But I mean sick in a good, healthy way. These guys bring their instruments and a wall of Marshalls and they make your ears bleed. If you think you really know what metal is, listen to this first.

The Adjusters Politics of Style Jump Up! Ska The back cover says "File under ska or soul or political science." That's exactly what the Adjusters play on their long-play debut. They call it "Crucial Rhythm & Blues," and listening to it reveals some of their influences, from reggae, ska, soul, blues. Not all political music has to be yelled out over screeching guitars. With "Politics of Style," you can groove yourself to a more politically aware state.

The C-60s The C-60s Spongebath Records What you have here is a swell blend of pop, punk and ska. This is probably the hookiest, most addictive CD I've heard in a while. These guys are probably great in concert, as their music is filled with limitless energy. It sounds like they all just go up there and play whatever they want and it somehow turns into song. Dig it!

The Digger$ Mount Everest Big Deal Records With Beatle-esque inflections, The Diggers play pop like it hasn't been played maybe since the Fab Four. I wonder if the freezing episode in Austin Powers could really happen, because I believe Ringo may have felt threatened and froze these guys. If you like really smartly written pop songs, you should definitely listen. It's Shagadelic, baby!

The Donnas American Teenage Rock 'N' Roll High School Lookout Records The Donnas are four 18-year-olds from Palo Alto, CA who happen to all have the same first name. That is not the only similarity they share with the Ramones (same last name). The Donnas's style of punk also greatly resembles the Ramones, as well as Kiss and the Runaways. Very enjoyable.

The Hectics Everything I Need 360 Twist Heavily, heavily punk-influenced (they even thank Jello Biafra) garage band music from a bassless Denver trio (not that they need a bassist; I didn't even notice its absence 'til I read the liner notes). Two women handle the guitar chores and prove (not that it should be doubted) that chix can rock as hard as men. All the songs are short, aggressive, to the point, and mostly deal with relationships, sex/lust, romantic rivalry.

The Make-Up In Mass Mind Dischord Records This is the best release by the Make Up thus far. Their "Afterdark" live lp was fairly hard to stomach without the visual presence of the band (I've been told they are an amazing live band.) For those who don't know, Make-Up features ex-members of Nation of Ulysses, a band that had better ideas than music. Ian's voice is better suited for their diy R&B than it was for punk. If you dig 60's or 70's R&B or Soul, you should run out and get this disk. I'm just so impressed! Ian's off key singing sounds so great with beautiful organs and 60's drum beats. The cover and booklet is beautiful as well. If you're looking for something different that's easy on the ears and extremely danceable and grooveable, GET THIS!

The Saboteurs Espionage Garage American Pop Project The Saboteurs formed in Japan after Mark Brodie accomplished his long planned move to the Asian country. Playing Fender guitars exclusively, this trio plays authentic 60's surf music and secret agent tunes. This one will have you grabbing for your longboard while avoiding foreign spys who want the microchip imbeded in one of your molars.

The Vandalias Buzzbomb! Big Deal Records The Bay City Rollers meets the Ramones meets the Monkees. This is power pop wrapped in bubblegum with a seventies feel. I can almost hear the teenage girls screaming. It has a certain spontaneity to it, evidenced by the fact that most tracks were recorded in the first take. Groovy, baby!

Ui The 2-Sided EP/The Sharpie (1993-1995) Southern Records This is a rerelease of two previous recordings, "The 2-Sided EP," out of print since 1995, and "The Sharpie." Consisting of 2 bass players and a drummer, Ui tend to lock into patterns that will send you into a hypnotic state.

Unwound Challenge For A Civilized Society Kill Rock Stars This opens with dissonance ala early Sonic Youth. You think I forgot about Sonic Youth? The guy even sounds like Thurston Moore when they assume the Sonic Youth sound. Such is indie-pop today, I suppose. Nonetheless, there are a few better tracks here. "The World is Flat" builds from an extended drum roll to a guitar solo and back and forth. "Side Effects of Being Tired" is quite great with it's Sonic Youth-less textures. The only thing I ask of experimental music is they experiment on a new level than their influences and "Side Effects ... " succeeds on this count. Alas, Unwound is working in the domain of feedback, which was co-opted by grunge. It takes a lot of inspiration to give it the punch it once had, and this record has its fair share of moments.

ViSiON The Kids Still Have A Lot To Say Cargo Music Not only were they voted one of the 10 best live bands by Thrasher magazine, but I'm voting them as one of the 10 best hardcore/punk bands I've heard in the last year. Their songs are just ripped and the vocals are better than most. The backing vocals put them above most indies out there.

Various Artists Compilations

Bay Area Checking In With The World Cold Front Boy! What a compilation! These bands all share the same city of San Francisco as home. Aside from that, they are all fairly distinct. Punk, Pop-punk, Garage Rock, Mod-Rock, Oi!, and Ska are all featured here. Diesel Boy, The Force, The Odd Numbers and Model American contribute stand out tracks, though you may like anyone of 23 of the other tracks as well. Though there are great bands out of any city nowadays and the "scene" was never limited to San Francisco, it's still very active in that city and this provides documentation of a good number of it's pissed off denizens.

Gods of Darkness Nuclear Blast America Fifteen bands. 70+ minutes. Black Metal. Combine these and you get "Gods of Darkness." From all over Europe, bands like Emperor, Craddle of Filth, Agathodaimon, Satyricon, Covenant, Enslaved and more are represented here, determined to win over your soul. Listen closely, and they just might. Also included is a previously unreleased track by Dimmu Borgir.

New Rock '98 LSE A compilation featuring 3 tracks each from Melbourne's metalesque but thoughtful Tin Can Jets, the neo-Southern rock of Glitterhick (Palm Bay) and Elgin Hooper (Melbourne), the "hillbilly gothic honkytonk from hell" of Orlando's Ratso Rizzo, and Atlanta rockers Throkmorton. Check out this CD and support homegrown music.

Punk Bites 2 Fearless Records You enjoy punk music, but hate the hassle of having to buy the whole album. Well now you can enjoy the best punk music has to offer, now in convenient bite size portions! NOFX, Pulley, 98 Mute, Horace Pinker, MxPx, Pennywise, Whippersnapper, and more, all included here in one collection for your listening pleasure! Get your own copy before they're all gone!

Skank For Brains Beach Recordings There is no possible way you can get more ska and punk for your money than right here on this fine CD. "Skank" contains 28 songs (plus two secret tracks) that are super. Bands included are Nothing Cool, Rude Bones, and Nuclear Rabbit. You're a fool if you don't pick this up.

ViSiON The Kids Still Have A Lot To Say Cargo Music Not only were they voted one of the 10 best live bands by Thrasher magazine, but I'm voting them as one of the 10 best hardcore/punk bands I've heard in the last year. Their songs are just ripped and the vocals are better than most. The backing vocals put them above most indies out there.