Record Reviews

AUTOPSIES, THE: A Memoir from the Morgue: 7”

I don’t think I have ever listened to a psychobilly record before. It seems like it could soundtrack a haunted playground, demonic circus, or something: high-tension delayed guitar, freaky but somehow old-timey melodies. There’s also a surf element to it. But maybe that’s just the Autopsies. Either way, it’s surprisingly listenable, probably more so if you’re into this kind of thing. –Lyle (Killjoy)

BAD FUTURE: No Permission: CS

I know it may seem like I am a one-man cheer squad at Razorcake for Seattle’s Bad Future, but I can’t help how damn good they are (and for the record, Jim Ruland and I make up a two-man cheer squad for them!). Well, they’re at it again with a self-released cassette that once again shows the quick rate at which the band’s sound is evolving and how they continue to master what ever approach they take. The quirkiness that permeated their debut release, Golden Age, has drifted a long way off to the back burner, showcasing a bludgeoning yet intricate style of hardcore that falls more in line with their latest LP. Angry, yet optimistic. Intricate, yet on the verge of falling apart. Bad Future takes me in two different directions at the same time and I can’t get enough. Easily one of the best bands out there right now! –Ty Stranglehold (Self-released, badfuture.bandcamp.com)

BARE MINIMUM, THE: Sink to the Top: CD

The Bare Minimum has me questioning the stereotype that all Canadians are painfully nice. I mean I bet the dudes in the band are perfectly sweet, but if Sink to the Top is any indication, they’ve got a bunch of rage boiling beneath the surface. I keep thinking they sound a lot like The Offspring, but then they’ll slap on a sweet thrash metal riff or growl just to throw me off the scent. Regardless, at a time when most punk bands are copies of copies, The Bare Minimum manages to keep their music interesting and their skills honed. –Simone Carter (Self-released, thebareminimumband@gmail.com, thebareminimum.ca)

BEASTEATER: Self-titled: LP

Whoa! Beasteater is a melding of Detroit and Buffalo garage rock greats, bringing together folks who’ve previously done time in such bands as The Dirtbombs, Bantam Rooster, The Dirtys, and The Blowtops, among others. Musically, they offer noisy, fuzzed-out garage punk that is sometimes riffy, sometimes driven, and sometimes more dirgey, but it’s always good. Honestly, the record is much noisier than I was expecting based on the lineage of the members, something that was a total welcomed surprise. This isn’t your parents’ garage rock, but instead the type that will hit you over the head, steal your rent money, and blow it all at the bar with no regrets whatsoever. –Mark Twistworthy (Big Neck, bigneckrecords.com)

BELL WIRE: Dog Thoughts: CD

From jump, I thought this was going to be a record of Patti Smith-like spoken word and that was a little scary to me. I’m guessing the EP title and first song are actually just thoughts that a dog might have with some guitars and drums softly laid over top. My next concern was that this band was going for an art rock band identity with songs that are just weird for the sake of being weird. But then the second track comes on and proves to be the standout for me. The three after that followed suit as well, but I think the hard left turn they took is much easier to appreciate the first time it happened. They flirt with indie rock while wearing a leather jacket—a lot like Dinosaur Jr., and very much a band you’d find in college. –Kayla Greet (Spark & Fizz)

BESSERBITCH: Pretenders & Liars: CD

Stockholm femme band Besserbitch are straight adolescent pop punk mall rock that’s so slick and polished it has no edge. Highly produced to the point where it sounds like there’s auto tune and a drum machine, and it’s just not right. –Camylle Reynolds (Bolero)

BETA BOYS: After Dark: 7” EP

Blown-out, distorted punk/hardcore—Disorder as interpreted by Groinoids, maybe? Shit’s fucked up, and gloriously so, either way. Play loud enough your ears bleed, then crank the knob just a wee bit higher. –Jimmy Alvarado (Neck Chop, facebook.com/NeckChopRecords)

BIKINI BEACH: Guzzler: CD

Germany may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a bikini beach, but Wavves and Ty Segall-influenced band Bikini Beach calls it home. Lo-fi, garagey surf punk is my cup of tea, and Guzzler served it. The album cover gave me a hard time figuring out what the band was called, because half of the name is cut off by a child’s head, but all the Googling to figure it out was rewarded by a cute DIY spray painted CD. Alternating male and female vocals kept me interested, and the vocals on “My Way” are reminiscent of Be Your Own Pet crossed with Mika Miko. What starts out as a high-powered day at the beach ends in the slow haze of “Exit,” the closing song. It’s a nice fadeout, and I know I’ll be listening to this album a lot this season, dreaming of weather warm enough to go to the beach. –Cynthia Pinedo (Bikini Beach, bikinibeach.bandcamp.com)

BLEEDERS: Gash: CS

Holy hell, this is good. Definite feminist, no wave energy—which we need more than ever right now—plus raw, noisy, structured post-punk energy, which is also needed. I’d like to direct everyone to the songs “Mansplainer” and “Forced Vaginal Ultrasound” in particular. Book this band at your show and add tape to cart. –Matt Werts (What’s For Breakfast, wfbrecords.com)

BOATS: Black and White: LP

Been a good minute since I last saw a release from Modern Action (the label), and it’s great to see they haven’t thrown in the towel just yet. Boats are well suited to the label’s sound, falling somewhere between the Briefs and Modern Action (the band), showcasing brief, catchy bits of thud-punk with sonic roots pulled deep from West Coast—especially Southern California—punk’s first wave DNA. Shit’s bouncy, anthemic, and sure to get the party started. –Jimmy Alvarado (Modern Action)