Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Record/Zine Reviews (early summer 2011)

The bulk of this batch or reviews post is going to be zines, since I picked up a bunch recently. In today's instant gratification culture, it's real good that people are still making zines. Also, you may notice that I changed the format of my reviews slightly. I want people to go out and buy the good releases for sure, and support new bands releasing demos. After being basically called an elitist on a local message board for wanting to wait until I got a record in the mail before passing judgment on some mp3s, I feel like actually buying releases is more important. Downloading is convenient, but it devalues the efforts of the bands you claim to like. Before publishing this, I came across a (self-proclaimed) hardcore blog where the write said "I'm not a fan of the physical format." Fuck off asshole, I actually own all of the things I review. If this is the future of the HC scene, what's the point of even dropping out? What will you do, delete your hard drive?

7":

Waste Management- Power Abuse (Painkiller Records)
So these songs came out last year on a cassette, which also had a live set. These new songs were too good to fade into obscurity. If you have ears, you no doubt loved their first record, which blended SSD with early AF. The new record has that, but adds some Discharge elements. "Too Much Unity" is about keeping hardcore for the weirdos, which I can definitely support. The cover art is a crazy full color illustration that reminds me of Agnostic Front's Cause for Alarm LP. If you only get one record this month, it should be this. Includes a digital download.


Ripcord- The Damage is Done (Boss Tuneage Records)
So to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ripcord's first 7", the fine folks at Boss Tuneage were cool enough to re-press this record. The original was on a flexi, so even if you found an original, it probably is in some rough shape. The re-press is on a nice thick piece of vinyl, so it will last another 25 years. This is Ripcord at their most raw. Their sound was heavily influenced by the early 80's USHC, though filtered through Discharge's raw intensity and anger. Some of these songs were re-recorded later, but I prefer these versions better. The version of "Furder" is by far superior w/o the opening mosh part being ruined by a sample. 3/4 of Ripcord now play in Violent Arrest, who are also awesome.


Night Fever- Transparent (No Way Records)
I LOVED Night Fever's New Blood LP, so not only was I psyched to get this new 7", but I get to see/play with them twice on their US tour. In the past, I described them as Youth of Today mixed with Guns N Roses. This new 7" has 3 songs, which display a bit more Thin Lizzy style rock n roll vibe, though the lyrics are still hateful and vocals still ridiculous. Hopefully you caught them on their US tour, pick up this record for sure, and get the reissue of New Blood if you don't have it already.


No Statik- Clarified, Distilled, Recomposed b/w We All Die In The End (Iron Lung Records)
Picked this up based on the ex-members of What Happens Next? and Look Back and Laugh, expecting it to be pretty good. Unfortunately this 2 song single is insanely boring. The A-side is an ok song, but pales in comparison to LBAL. The B-side is some boring instrumental that turns into some techno crap. I don't know if their LP on Prank is any better, and frankly I don't want to find out.


Criaturas- Aranas En El Corazon (Lengua Armada Records)
Cariaturas is a band from TX, who are female fronted and sing in Spanish. I believe there's some Deskonocidos members involved in this. The music is a melodic early 80's punk, sort of like a Spnish version of the Comes. The vocals are screamed, while the music is a reverb drenched D-beat. Not too bad, into it.


Poison x Planet- Bleed For Me (Third Party Records)
Here's a record I'm sure was fun to make. For Poison Planet's recent European tour, they decided to release a 7" consisting of 2 Dead Kennedys covers that they recorded with their last 2 EPs. Unfortunately for us, the lyrics of both of those songs still hold true today as much as they did in the 80's The government is still underhanded, and nazi punks still need to fuck off. Nick sings in his own way, and doesn't try to emulate Jello's signature style. The lyrics are printed inside along with how they relate to us almost 30 years later. If you like Poison planet and Dead Kennedys, then this is a fun release. If not, then you're fuckin' up. I would have like the see a PxP take on the old DK logo for that B-side label though.


Remission -Winds of Promise (React! Records)
Reission is a band from Chile, a country not generally known for their hardcore output. Not really knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. Their sound reminds me of the mid-80's DC sound like Dag Nasty and Swiz, however not treading into pop-punk or boring indie rock. The songs have a lot of punch to them. Coincidentally, they have a split with Police and Thieves that just came out, and I feel like both bands play a similar style. This 3 song 7" definitely left me wanting more. Includes a digital download.


Street Sweeper- s/t (Shoe City Records)
Street Sweeper is a new band from MA who plays a style of HC more like bands from NY. I get a Leeway or Killing Time vibe from this. The music is mid-paced and heavy, however straying from metal guitar tone in favor of heavy riffing. While not my favorite style, this is actually done very well. My only peeve is that the songs don't flow into each other, it seems like the feedback could have easily been blended between songs without a break. That may just be something I notice, but an overall impressive debut.


Villain- Trouble At Home (Shoe City Records)
Villain is another band from MA, who also play a harder style of HC, similar to bands like Think I Care and Tarpit. They balance the slower mosh parts with the faster HC/punk parts. I kind of wish there were more fast parts, as I think they're more interesting. I could see someone into the Ceremony style being into this. Includes a digital download.

12":

Soul Swallower- Devoured (Painkiller Records)
Soul Swallower was a side project that released a 7" back in like 2005, that sort of flew under the radar when it was released. Though it was good, Mind Eraser related bands have a lot more interest nowadays. Musically, the LP is a bit more dark, taking cues from Taste of Fear, and mixing black metal elements with fast hardcore. There's a good balance of fast and heavy parts here. Would have been nice to have a lyric sheet, but it's pretty decent. Includes a digital download.


Poison Planet- Ugly Truths Vol. 1 (Carry the Weight Records)
Another Poison Planet record to coincide with their European tour. This LP compiles their first and second 7"s, along with 2 covers and some new songs. Since I've already reviewed their 7"s, I'll keep it brief. Poison Planet is a politically conscious vegan straight edge band, who plays hardcore similar to bands from the early 80's. I thought it was interesting that they chose to cover Get It Away and Cold Shoulder, 2 bands from recent years that are local to them. One of the new songs, "Who's to Blame" takes the intro to "Eyes Wide Open" and has an animal rights speech that sounds like it's through a megaphone. Kinds reminds me of the LP version of "Furder" by Ripcord. However both songs open each side of the LP, so the A and B sides both start with the same music. This LP is a good way for newcomers to PxP to catch up on their releases, and get some new stuff.


Pure Hell- Noise Addiction (Welfare Records)
This reissue came out like 2 years ago, but was recorded in the 70's, so it's still relevant in my eyes. Remember the Death LP that everyone went crazy for? Here's another all African American punk band from the 70's who's material went largely unreleased. Pure Hell's music is more along the lines of the New York Dolls and Sex Pistols, with a lot of attitude.


Get The Most- s/t (React! Records)
I had never checked out Get The Most before, but this LP compiles their 2 7"s and demo, so it's a perfect refresher course. I was really surprised, because this is a pretty faithful youth crew style HC, complete with Ray of Today style growls. More bands need to do that, you can say it's goofy, but you're wrong. The main riff in "Pass It On" reminds me of the mosh part in the A-Team TV show theme song, which is not a bad thing for sure. They also cover my favorite Abused song on here. Unfortunately the band is breaking up soon, and now I feel stupid for sleeping on them this long. Includes a digital download.

CD:

Villain- It’s Rough
This is Villain's first release, and while not as good as their recent 7", it's not too bad either. Lyrically is seems a lot less serious, while musically it's not as fast. I kind of liked how their 7" had a balance of fast and mid-paced mosh parts, but this isn't very fast. A bit too much focus on the mid-paced mosh for my liking. Not a bad debut, but I prefer the direction that their 7" is showing.


Snake Face- Ignorant Youth
From what I can tell, Snakeface is a band from Australia. The CD packaging has some of the worst art I've ever seen, and I thought it'd be some sort of ironic hipster indie rock crap. Thank god they had that crude drawing of a dick on the inside cover instead of, oh I don't know, lyrics/contact info? Musically though it's pretty fast/heavy hardcore in the same style as bands like Ceremony. Most of the songs clock in under a minute, but it's not enough to hold my interest.

Demos:
Stab (tape) (Painkiller Records)
I had seen a write up about Stab on a blog that referred to them as a UK straight edge band that sounded like Ripcord. Welp, I was sold. Lucky for me, Painkiller re-pressed it and had copies in the store (now sold out) when I placed my order. No false advertising here, I get a definite Ripcord, where it's fast, but not venturing into grind territory. The production is real raw and distorted, like Discharge. Overall an awesome demo. Also, it turns out that I met some of these dudes while in the UK, and this was the band they told me about. Wish I was able to see them.

File 13- Generation Lost (pro-tape)
File 13 is a new band from Richmond, VA. Their sound reminds me of recent bands like Wasted Time, Crispus Attucks or Rations; in that they play fast but with a heavier/ thicker sound. The vocalist also reminds me of No Justice. Not enough bands play this style, and I think it makes them stand out. Smart lyrics and a cool cover graphic make this a demo worth your time. Definitely looking forward to what they do next.

Beware (tape)
This is a new band from PA, with the former singer of Let Down and some other folks from other bands. They remind me a lot of Mouthpiece, or Chain Of Strength w/o the fast parts. The music is somewhat mid-paced, but powerful. When I saw them they covered my favorite Turning Point song, so that rules. This will be a band to keep an eye on for sure.
*I should note that I had to review this based on mp3s, since my tape had the first song repeated 3 times. It starts about half through the song, then repeats twice and cuts off in the middle of the 4th time. I don't even know how this could happen, who was dubbing these? Bands: just pay the extra money to get your tapes pro-duplicated, so we don't have these problems. Thanks!

Zines:
Got Myself #5
This is a zine based out of VA, which I've picked up before. The inside layout is some top notch cut and paste. Not too sloppy and easy to read, but the layout has no boring white spaces. There's interviews with Wasted Time Double Negative and Night Birds. I like that there's more than just a page of reviews, I wish more zines dedicated 1/3 of their content to reviews. The writer also makes numerous references to how much they hate VA. I hear ya dude, try living in NJ.

Seven Inches to Freedom No. 9
SITF is a nice little half page zine from FL. The inside layout looks like it's been run through a photocopier from the 80's, but is very clean and easy to read. The content is similar to MRR in that there's a good amount of guest columns, interviews and reviews. I'm not really into any of the reviews or interviews, but some of the articles a real interesting. The how-to guide to creating a successful straight dge band, ot crust band was funny. The retrospective look at Sound Idea records was good as well. My old band wound up playing our last show there. Great store. Pretty cool zine overall, but probably wouldn't pick up another.

Litmus Test Issue 2
Picked this one up on a whim, I figured a straight edge zine may be cool. Not really into Bracewar or Let Down, so the interviews weren't of much interest and the reviews were very minimal and mainly focused on Richmond bands. The article on women in straight edge was kind of interesting, though I would have liked to see more quotes or interviews with actual women. Oddly, I found the political writings more interesting (which isn't a good thing). Clean computer looking layout, but not really anything special. Did the thanks list really require the whole back cover?

Punks! Punks! Punks! Volume 3
This zine reads like it was written for the high school newspaper. The layout is an ugly computerized look, but trying (and failing) to look cut and paste. Did you really ask one of the Casualties about what's punk or not? Did you really reference Have Heart in the Ian Mackaye interview? The best part is when the singer of Reckless Aggression tells him these are the worst questions he's ever read. This reads like the B9 board or the Youth Attack jerkbooth. .

Chunks Issues 2+3
Town of Hardcore was arguably the best zine of the 00's, but Chunks just became my top contender to carry their torch. I picked up issues 2 and 3 recently, and loved them. There's well written interviews with good questions, short and to the point reviews (I don't need 3 paragraphs on a 7 minute record) and packed with photos and a cut and paste layout. The interviews are probably the best part, since they read like someone who knows the bands personally and genuinely gets them. They stray far from the typical "who's in the band," "tell us about your touring plans" type boring questions. These 2 issues have interviews with Waste Management, Reckless Aggression, Rival Mob and Omegas- you you know they're good. Both zines are kind of thin, but are packed with nothing but quality material. Not for the weak, hardcore zine for the hardcore.

Counterfeit Garbage #5
Another great issue of this zine, a little thinner than the previous issue, but still high quality for sure. Good interviews with No Class and Devour, as well as reviews and rants. The highlight for me is Matt's review of a terrible show he went to in China, where he talks about hating white people numerous times. Great zine, probably the best in the states.

Social Hardcore Issue 2
This one's interesting, an Australian zine, but written based on a trip to the good ol' USA. It's kinda cool to see a foreign take on the bands we maybe take for granted. There's a focus on the NYC and Boston bands. The zine is only 8 pages (2 pages folded,) and the inside is all photos. Not the best photos, but cool bands for sure. Pretty cool despite its size. Would pick up again.

2 comments:

STREETSWEEPER said...

yo dude, I'm Harry from Streetsweeper and I wanna say thanks for taking the time to review the record! I'm glad you liked it especially if the style is outside what you normally listen to. I just wanna comment that the feedback between songs DOES blend, but the pressing plant fucked it up by putting spaces between them. If you cop oneo f the mediafires floating around it should sound normal. Thanks again man --Harry

BleedingEdges said...

Damn, that sucks. Same thing happened with the Coke Bust LP. Oh well.