PALLBEARER: Heartless: CD/ 2 x LP

For Pallbearer’s third full-length album, this quartet from Little Rock, Ark., is once again in the doom metal camp. Yet their sound seems to showcase further influences than on previous releases. On the hour of music that comprises Heartless, I hear the band exploring their melodic side, with hints of Explosions In The Sky and Jesu. Lead singer Brett Campbell’s vocals are changing in a pleasant way. While they’re still reminiscent of Ozzy, he reaches for some higher, more angelic notes from time to time. It’s unfortunate, then, that backing vocals from his bandmates take away from the melodic tone of both the music and Campbell’s lead vocals. The lead guitar work, by contrast, sings with beauty—hopeful and triumphant. As I wrote in a review for the band’s album Foundations of Burden, this is a release that requires you to put on some headphones and let the sound wash over you. Despite the backing vocals disruption, this is Pallbearer’s strongest work. It’s also a great place to start if you’re not familiar with the band and want an entry point. –Kurt Morris (Profound Lore,

PARDON US: Self-titled: 7”

Jaunty power pop with a punk edge straight from the city that gave us The Beatles. This trio reminds me of The Gain, with crisp guitar work being prominent from the get go and some memorable choruses adding to the fun. Fans of Gentlemen Prefer Blood—also featuring Todd Smailes of The Gain—could do worse than check this out, given a similar propensity for being heavy on the melody and doing it extremely well. –Rich Cocksedge (Everything Sucks,

PAT TODD & THE RANKOUTSIDERS: The Outskirts of Your Heart: LP

This is the tenth anniversary re-release of a great album packed full of barn-burning American rock’n’roll songs reminiscent of the Mekons or the Blasters. Pat Todd has already been around the block a few times with the Lazy Cowgirls and this band, the Rankoutsiders, but these songs are timeless. This album, for me, is the pick of this review cycle because of full-on ragers like “Bad Memories, Poison, & Regret” and sweet acoustic songs like “Your Heart, Your Soul & Your Ass.” –Jon Mule (Hound Gawd!,


A Swiss rockabilly band? Now I’ve heard everything. Actually, The Peacocks have been around for over twenty-five years and put out a couple albums on Asian Man. So, evidently I’m real far behind the curve on this one. But I’m happy to report that The Peacocks are actually pretty damn good. I can imagine them being an energetic and fun live act. I’m sure they get this often, but the band I hear the most similarity to is Reverend Horton Heat. If you’re into rockabilly, you’ve probably heard of this trio, but if not, definitely give them a spin. –Kurt Morris (Concrete Jungle)

PERKELE: Best from the Past: CD

Twenty bouncy street punk anthems from this long-running, left-wing Swedish band. This is more fun than tough, with plenty of singalong choruses. I can’t find much English-language info about this album, but think it might be some sort of retrospective. New or old, I rate it pogo-approved. –Chris Terry (Spirit Of The Streets)


When you ask someone to name legendary Canadian punk rock bands, you will almost invariably receive answers of DOA, Teenage Head, Nomeansno, SNFU, et cetera. Those answers are surely not wrong by any stretch, but if you come across anyone even slightly in the know, the name Personality Crisis will come up. PC were Winnipeg’s champions of punk rock. Incredibly heavy and original, they straddled that sweet spot in the early ‘80s where rock’n’roll, punk rock, and hardcore all came together. They were destined for greatness, but instead tumbled into obscurity, with their one near-perfect album, 1983’s Creatures for Awhile disappearing for many years (bootlegs and one reissue notwithstanding) until now. Sounds Escaping has dug deep and struck gold! The first disc has the album in its entirety and two compilation tracks. This would be amazing enough, but then there is disc number two: fifteen tracks worth of studio demos from 1981-’82, much of which has never seen the light of day before. Everything is remastered and sounds better than ever. If you know the band, you’ve probably already have this or have ordered it. If you haven’t, you should check it out. I can honestly say I have never heard a band that sounds like Personality Crisis. –Ty Stranglehold (Sounds Escaping,

PHONE JERKS: Can’t Stand the Maritimes: 7”

Here’s an old fashioned one-sider with three songs on one side. These would pop up occasionally, but it was a trademark of Rip Off Records’ singles in the ‘90s. I always wondered how much money was saved leaving one side of a single blank. Either way, I appreciated the brevity. If you’re into Rip Off-style singles, this is a must-have. Three blasters of overdriven guitar moving at Teengenerate speed. All the songs are great. Density prevails. One to look out for if you’re into punk’n’roll. –Billups Allen (Goodbye Boozy,


I can’t remember the first time I heard Portland Oregon’s Piss Test, but I have been a fan for a few years now. I snapped up everything they had available on vinyl the first time I saw them play, and it is a great day when a new one comes out. Here we have their second LP and they continue to crank out the kind of punk rock that fuels my life. Agitated, frantic, and off kilter, the songs run the risk of spinning out of control if it wasn’t for the dialled-in rhythm section becoming the anchor to pull them back in just in the nick of time. Songs touch on issues such as gentrification, sexism at shows, asshole cops, and strip bar employees among other things. Even if I didn’t already love the band, they would have landed me with the opening line from “Basement”: “I still hate Fleetwood Mac.” I do indeed. –Ty Stranglehold (Dirt Cult)

PISSE: Kohlrübenwinter: 7”

German weirdo lo-fi synth-punk. The first three songs cruise along nicely to the tune of the Coneheads worshipping Kraut rock and the Screamers instead of Devo. The fourth and final song is not as easily digestible, as it sounds like a bubble gum ballad with a misplaced theremin and strange Tiny Tim-esque high pitched vocals. Three out of four ain’t bad at all, so I’m curious to see where, if anywhere, they go from here. A word of advice: your band’s name should probably be in a bigger font than the title of your EP if you really want people to give your band a listen. –Juan Espinosa (Harbinger Sound, / In A Car,


Sometimes you stare into the bathroom mirror and contemplate the endless void that stares back at you. Sometimes you continue to scrutinize that void, pondering how humans continue to fill an unending hole with death, hate, and war with Sisyphean verve. Sometimes you know enough people in your small town that you go into the basement and translate that contemplation into sound and capture it on cassette. To be fair, this cassette has hit me on all the right levels after two weeks filled with international terrorist and American missile attacks. Plural Being makes ugly music for ugly times and we need that. Professional blue cassette with hard stock fold-out cover and lyrics. Members of Panzram and Merkit. –Matt Seward (IFB,