Category Archives: Record Reviews

96 GHOSTS: Know the Pattern: 7”

If you’re a fan of old school Punk-O-Rama pop punk like Osker or Millencollin, or high energy political stuff in the vein of Anti-Flag’s A New Kind of Army you’ll love this 7”. Songs are energetic with that ascending bass style that carried so many sad punks through the early 2000s. I wanna go skating now. –Candace Hansen (Snubbed)

 

ABOLITIONIST: A New Militance: 10”

This is essentially Abolitionist’s response to that travesty of a 2016 presidential election here in America. I really like the idea of “your feeble grasp of power is coming to an end” as stated in the song “Actually” because it is really past time for these sorry motherfuckers in this present administration to go. They have songs ranging from women rising up and turning the tables, to everyone waking up from their complacency and realizing even when you get to where you want to be, you still have to keep on fighting to hold that gained ground. Otherwise, we’ll sink even deeper. –Matt Average (1859, 1859records.bandcamp.com, 1859records@gmail.com)

 

ABOLITIONIST: A New Militance: 10”

A concept record of sorts from this Oregon band, detailing a near-future in which a fed up women’s movement uses any means necessary to overthrow an unnamed “autocrat” and claim true equality. With musical influence from Propagandhi and an understandable disgust with the current state of American leadership, these guys do an admirable job of showing their support for women, even if some of the lyrics are a bit on the nose and individual songs feel incomplete at times. Unfortunately, my recurring thought while listening to this record is that a man is singing these words, representing women’s voices. I certainly don’t want to criticize though, as vocally supporting this movement—being allies—is a crucial role, and that’s clearly the place that this band is coming from. –Chad Williams (1859, 1859records.bandcamp.com / Different Kitchen, differentkitchenrecords.bandcamp.com)

 

ACTIVE MINDS: Religion Is Nonsense: 10”

Active Minds are never a band that minces words or holds back. Here they are offering sonic commentary on the present moment’s many ills: religion, social media, bigot politicians, and other undesirables. Style-wise they keep it hard-driving punk with some thrashy elements, and sometimes dip into mid-to-late ’80s U.K.-style punk when it veered towards a poppier sound and added some whoa-ohs for today’s listener. I prefer their more blistering approach, as heard in “Step One,” “You’re a Fucking Idiot,” and the title track. This record comes housed in a 10” booklet of lyrics and other ruminations, along with a screen printed patch featuring Terry Graham in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. –Matt Average (Loony Tunes, loonytunesrecords.co.uk)

 

ADJUSTMENT CENTER: Demo: CS

Hardcore that plants itself between the Minor Threat-era of Dischord and the ’90s punk boom of Epitaph. It would be dismissive to describe their tape as “no frills,” but the band definitely doesn’t aim for style. The tape feels ultimately like a band stretching its legs, getting the early ideas out. A solid first effort; the band plays well together as a trio and they definitely have a sound that works between them as musicians. If this band sticks together, I could really see them making a good record with this lineup. –Gwen Static (Self-released, adjustmentcenter.bandcamp.com)

 

AGADOR SPARTACUS: Agastonishing: CDEP

Much as I like the band’s name—cribbed from a character in the American remake of La Cage Aux Folles—the music itself is fairly nondescript guitar-driven alternative rock. Wanted to like it more, but I couldn’t pull them out of a lineup with a buncha other bands of the same type. –Jimmy Alvarado (Agador Spartacus, agageddon.com)

 

ALEX WILEY COYOTE: II: CS

The closest I can get to an accurate rendering of this is that the music sounds like Devo gone honky-tonk with some ’80s synthpop sensibilities thrown in. This had the potential to be an intriguing and captivating singer-songwriter offering; the opening track, “Maintenance Man,” is almost worth the price of admission. But after that the record becomes somewhat hit-or-miss, with more misses than hits as the songs start to sound more and more like basement noodlings and outtakes. –The Lord Kveldulfr (Self-released)

 

AMERICAN WAR MACHINE: Unholy War: LP

The debut album from this Boston-based outfit is really good hardcore, with a clear Motörhead influence noticeable in the drive and delivery of many of the tracks. Members of Slapshot and Agnostic Front are involved, so it comes as no surprise to discover that Unholy War kicks ass musically and lyrically. The band hammers home its message with subtlety being in short supply. The production provides a clean yet thunderous sound, perfect for what the band is doing. Beyond the fact that I like this a lot, there’s not much to add. –Rich Cocksedge (Bridge 9, bridge9.com)

 

ANDY HUMAN AND THE REPTOIDS: Psychic Sidekick: LP

Andy Human And The Reptoids are fire on this LP. Keeping in orbit with Devo, Mick Trouble, Gary Numan, and the Urinals, their sound is at times new-wavey, with just as much expanse for some rippin’ guitar shreds with underlying rock’n’roll melodies. But with Gorf space sounds! Psychic Sidekick is a series of short blasts that are self-contained, perfect, and weird little space nuggets. After Andy released Jackson Pollock, I was pretty sure he was a musical genius, but this album, it tops it. Highly recommended. –Camylle Reynolds (Total Punk)

 

ANEURYSM: Awareness: LP

Noisy, confident, swaggering, with threads of melodies buried deep in there. The band’s got the joyous certainty of David Yow and Jesus Lizard, and like them, Aneurysm veers all over the place and still makes it seem like they’re behind the wheel and all is intentional. Recorded by Chris Johnson at GodCity, mastered by Will Killingsworth, and with brain-melting, extensive art by Mark McCoy, Awareness sounds and looks amazing. If you like unyielding, punishing kind of noise rock in the vein of, say, Unsane, this is a band you’re going to want to check out. –Keith Rosson (Tor Johnson)