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Spokenest: We Move 12"EP

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Below are some recently posted reviews.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Voodoo Rhythm Volume 3: CD
Truth be told, I usually much prefer Voodoo Rhythms sampler compilations. This is a bold statement, seeing as I think the vast majority of samplers are fairly disposable, and its not meant to imply Voodoo Rhythms individual releases are not worth a listen. What sets theirs apart from so many others is the scope of styles the label specializes inrockabilly, swamp-rock, country western, garage rock, 60s trash, bluegrass, punk, and a myriad of combinations of all the above makes for an eclectic mix of sounds to keep you on yer toes. The result sounds less like, say, Epitaphs Punk-O-Rama serieswhere all the bands sound like variations of the same songand more like a radio show specializing in shit that rarely gets played on the radio anymore. This, like its predecessors, is a nice hodge-podge of stuff thats pretty danged consistent in quality and features tunes from the likes of The Monsters, The Juke Joint Pimps, Hipbone Slim And The Knee Tremblers, Movie Star Junkies, Reverend Beat-Man (whose psychotic dance floor stuffer Jesus Christ Twist is the pick to click here), Andy Dale Petty and many more. Those looking for a quick teaser of future musical acquisitions and those who prefer something to plop into the car stereo and rock out to on the way to wherever will both find many tantalizing bits to savor here –Jimmy Alvarado (Voodoo Rhythm, voodoorhythm.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
The New Hope: 2 x LP
Hardcore USA, circa the early/mid-80s: Pitifully few legitimate places to play, no big money backing and big budget recording sessions for million-selling albums or tours, no internet making all the information on a band one could wantplus recordingsliterally at ones fingertips, and it seemed like pretty much everyone outside of your small pack of punker pals were out to kill asshole freaks like you. The concept of punk-as-career-move wasnt even enough of a blip on the radar to be considered a joke, and those who aligned themselves with the scene and picked up an instrument to bash on or went to a rented hall/backyard/basement show often did so because they believed in something that had a value that transcended the usual lure of fame and fortune. What resulted was some amazing (and yes, some admittedly pretty crappy), surprisingly diverse music coming from different clusters of groups in places not identified by the mainstream as hotbeds of musical cultureTempe and Phoenix, Dallas and Austin, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Washington, DC, Lawrence and elsewhere. Some of these clusters of bands stuck out in the middle of nowhere pooled together and managed their statement of existence via what was then a critical musical avenue for the average punk band, the compilation album. Some, like Flex Your Head, Boston Not L.A., Get Off My Back, Master Tapes and Cottage Cheese from the Lips of Death, featured what would end up the only recordings by bands that may have ruled the roost at home, but likely would be known to only a select few just fifty miles away. The New Hope was Northeast Ohios definitive statement circa-1982/83, a thirty-song collection featuring a number of the areas hardcore eliteThe Guns, Positive Violence, Spike In Vain, Agitated, No Parole, The Dark, Zero Defex, Outerwear, Offbeats, PPG and Starvation Armyoffering up their individual takes on hardcore, ranging from the brooding virulence of The Guns Im Not Right, to the hyper-speed thrashing of Positive Violence and Zero Defex, to more addled approaches from Spike In Vain and The Dark. Nearly thirty years down the line, virtually everything here stands up well, with the hard work and dedication put into the project still shining through. A one-sheet included here presents shrunken images of the pages of the comps original booklet, along with some liner notes helping to give context and insight into just how much effort was put into putting this out the first time round, and Smog Veil has upped the ante by including an additional LPs worth of material from each band. Things have definitely gotten a wee bit easier in Hardcore USA circa-2011 in terms of recording, releasing, performing and networking, but reissues like this are still invaluable, not only because the music on em is so kick ass, but also because they serve as evidence that those needing to get their point across will inevitably find a way to do just that. –Jimmy Alvarado (Smog Veil)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
I Think We Should Stay Away from Each Other: LP
In this erawhere the label sampler disguised as a compilation has gone online or marketed as a free giveaway at shows with paid securityreleased-on-vinyl, fan-based compilations are like collages to specific music scenes or tastes. Its a trend I encourage. Well, the good ones, like this one, I do. And, its perhaps because a really nice, enthusiastic local guy, Aaron Kovacs, put this compilation together and Im enjoying watching Summer Vacation, the band hes in (and who is also on the comp) develop, that Im more susceptible to its charms. I dunno. Perhaps its that Aarons around nineteen or twenty, putting him at nine or ten when Razorcake started, that there is some hope, you know? Heres a new generation, not only choosing what to collect as a batch of songs, but organizing it, and earning the money for the printing and pressing. This comp has the feel of the best of Plan-It-X: DIY punk with folk and acoustic leanings, open to jumping around in wild abandon. Its got the feel of a well-paced mix tape, mixing well-known bands like Underground Railroad To Candyland, Andrew Jackson Jihad, and Japanther with lesser-known excellence like Jehovas Fitness, Pangea, and many more. Recommended. –Todd Taylor (Lauren, laurenrecords.bandcamp.com)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Casual Victim Pile 2: LP
Nice collection of current Austin bands. Seems that city has never really had a lack of worthwhile bands, unlike many of the more famous scenes like LA, NYC, or SF. The styles run the gamut of hardcore punk to pop. Some stuff is ehh, and then some stuff is Holy fuck! I need to get everything this band has done! awesome. Standouts are Literature, RayonBeach, Crisis Hotlines (do they have records out yet?), Women In Prison, Serious Tracers. Comes on white vinyl and a digital download card. –Matt Average (12XU, 12XU.net)


VARIOUS ARTISTS:
Anti-Social Promotions and Sampler: 7" EPs
Some overlap in bands here, with The Unpatriotics, The Dead Pawns, and A Disco For Ferns making appearances on both discs, while Angel Face, Violent Society, All Rise, Bucket Flush, Haste Killed Creativity, and Combat Crisis round out the rest of the tuneage here. Save for Haste Killed Creativitys indie-punkish track, the lions share of stuff on both discs falls into one derivative or another of 80s-influenced hardcore, simple and direct, with nary a whit of metal. Cant say anything blew my skirt up either way, but nothing here was especially terrible, and I definitely like the fact that this fits more into the traditional interpretation of compilation than the more modern label sampler. –Jimmy Alvarado (8^)


VACATION :
Dream Dad: 7
Sounded to me like a mid-00s melodic hardcore band like Strike Anywhere, with just a touch of Fleshies weirdness. Mostly straight forward, with bits of Wooos! that sound like they could come from John Geek, plus some weird guitar noodling at just the right moments. Im into it. –Joe Evans III (Sidejar/Lets Pretend)


UNFUN:
Pain Prescription: 7 EP
Vancouvers Unfun wear their Hskers on their sleeve, with distorted guitars layered on thick and little bits of harmonic noodling thrown in here and there. The raspy vocals and their overall song structure show they are also no strangers to Crimpshrines back catalog, either. They know their way around a song, though, and it shows in an EP fully of catchy tunes that despite obvious influences stand up well on their own. –Jimmy Alvarado (Unfun)


BER:
Self-titled: 7 EP and Espaa y Mierda: 7 EP: 7 EPs
Simple, fast n silly punk de Espaa. The drill is pretty much the same across both EPs, with thrashy beats, fuzz-free guitars, and lyrics that bounce between English, Castellano, Catalan, and Portuguese about riding bikes and everything being shit. –Jimmy Alvarado (Sell Our Souls, selloursouls.com)


TROWELS, THE:
Self-titled: 7
Truth be told, I cant stand thrash metal. But having been a skateboarder for sixteen years nowwith the fucked back and chipped teeth to prove itI really like this four-song EP. Thats not to say Id ever listen to it again (probably wont). Nevertheless, the lyrics are fucking amazing; literally every song is about skateboarding: dropping out of school and dropping into a bowl at FDR Skatepark; calling someone out for being a coward for kicking out of a trick; mixing concrete to build a skatepark and a track about session killers (Ken Park, Andy Mac, and McGill had reputations for this back in the day). If anything, Im glad these kids are out there and involved in skateboarding. With Target and Mountain Dew getting into the fold, we need this DIY spirit. –Ryan Leach (Self-released, myspace.com/thetrowels)


THRASH OHOOII / KESUMAT:
Split: 7
What a nice surprise this is. The packaging is great. It includes a cool poster and a really thick slab of vinyl. (Maybe the thickest 7 Ive ever seen) Both groups are Malaysian. Thrash OHOOII are a total HC thrash attack. They rip, despite the weird name. (Do they mean Thrash Ahoy? I really have no idea.) Kesumat are both slower and faster at times, and a lot darker. They are also very cool. This is a 7 well worth checking out if youre into fast, heavy tunes. (And you should be!) –Ryan Horky (Basement/Pissart, myspace.com/basementrecordstore, pissartrecords.com)


TENEMENT:
False Teeth: 7 EP
It always warms the ol black heart when a band approaches the pop punk equation without even a passing glance at NOFX, the Queers, or the Ramones. The easy reference point would be Hsker D, but while their chord selection shows some Hsker influence, they dont have a third of the wild guitar noodling. Theres also an almost bar rock undertow that especially bubbles up on the B-side tune, L City Bus #30 that is more in line with the boozy genius of the Replacements. The songs are well crafted and smart, and bore into the noggin in ways that happen too infrequently these days. –Jimmy Alvarado (Rock Bottom, no address)


TELEFON:
Smysl Malych Cinu: LP
Jarring and weird and skittish, like some guy poking you with a barbecue fork and them jumping back when you reach for him. A dozen songs sung in Czech with English translations that remind me of Fourth Rotor and, I dont know, all the unpleasant aspects of post-rock. Hows that for vague? There are plenty of riffs stacked and piecemealed together and none of them seem to gel into something approaching a song. The tin man without a heart, you know? Its just pieces. The vocalist approaches Joey Vindictive territory at times, which comes across pretty ineffectively here. Sorry to bag on it, and maybe this will grow on me, but Telefon managed to be musically excessive while gaining very little actual momentum. –Keith Rosson (PHR, phr.cz)


TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET:
Another Way: CD
A reissue of TBRs first album, this is very much a document of the band in its embryonic stage. The Ramones-core pop punk attack the band perfected is a bit looser, although very apparent already. Also the band at this point did not yet have second guitarist/vocalist Kody, which is a dimension to the bands sound that is missed when listening to this retroactively after their later releases. As bonus tracks, the bands even earlier A-Bomb 7 and their half of a split with Bill The Welder (which has my favorite track, Go Away) are appended to the end. Perhaps not an essential release, but it is good to have this back in print for those who want to dig deeper into Teenage Bottlerockets roots. –Adrian Salas (Red Scare)


TATTLE TALES, THE:
Moon Glasses: CD
Heres a group playing some straight-forward power pop with solid, sincere lyrics. My favorites are some lines from the song No Pills that go, She went finding her own way. Next time I see you Ill sayHey! I knew who you were! But I dont anymore. As I was reading the lyrics, I noticed that most of the pictures in the background are grayish winter pictures that look like they were taken somewhere way out in New England. I looked up the bands website, and they are in fact from that part of the country. They play shows in places like Dover, New Hampshire. People must love them for playing in small towns like that! I started reading the bands blog too, and I am pretty much in love with how excited they sound about what they do: Show tonight! Wooo! and This is happening Saturday, so come =) I always love to see bands who arent too cool to get excited about shows. As if the deal wasnt already sealed, I looked at the credits on the back and see that Mikey Erg played drums on all the tracks on this album. At that point, I am totally sold on these guys, but then I looked at the latest entry on their blog and they just broke up. Ah, what a cruel world this is. –Lauren Trout (Killer/ SP/ Hang Up/ Pop Jinx, hanguprecords.com)


SWEET SIXTEENS, THE:
Submarine: 7
A-side sounds like some sorta minimalist new wavy redux with what sounds like toy synths and an ancient drum machine. The flip has a bit more of an early Velvet Underground feel to it, with aforementioned synth in tow. Simple, but effective stuff. –Jimmy Alvarado (Windian, windianrecords.blogspot.com)


SPINOFFS, THE:
Stayin Alive: 7
This slab of wax was actually supposed to be released by the legendary distro/label Mutant Pop Records. But one thing led to another and the label went into a second hibernation. Its Alive, much like a young Indiana Jones, rescued the plates from crypts of pop punk (complete with etchings like I LIKE SHORT SONGS!dude!) and released it on yummy orange vinyl. Not only that...but this is the type of awesome shit with hand claps and on-fire guitar solos you expect from Its Alive. I recommend the shit out of this. –Mr. Z (Its Alive)


SPAZZ:
Crush Kill Destroy: LP
Reissue of the classic power violence band. Ironically, despite songs calling for The Complete & Utter Eradication of All Generic Pop Punk theres a very Ramones quality to these guys; theyre relatively simple (when placed next to prog rock influenced stuff, at least), but damn if its not super tight, high energy thrash. Combine it with a goofy sense of humor (they do the between-song sound clips better than most), and youve got a great record by an overall really fun band. My one super nerdy complaint is I wish the LP came with a download code (as I wish I could listen to this on the train, and not just at home), but, overall, its a beautifully done release, apparently the first in a series, so hopefully there will be more/a lot easier to track down. –Joe Evans III (625 Thrash, info@625thrash.com)


SORRY EXCUSE:
Self-titled: 7 EP
While the band keeps things at warp factor nine on this, their second release, theyve included a cover ostensibly depicting someone shooting up and either dying or passing out, and have expanded their lyrical content to address betrayal-by-friend, work sucking, not being heard making them angry, adultery getting them down, and more betrayal-by-friend lamentations. I really dont wanna sound like Im taking a swipe at the whole straight edge thingdrink, dont drink, I really dont give a fuckbut add a Jesus in here and there to all the finger wagging and pontificating and youve got all the makings of textbook bible-thumpin mentality. In short, the musics much more interesting without the lyrics cribbed from worst bits of long out of print SS Decontrol records. –Jimmy Alvarado (Lifeline)


SLOW DEATH, THE:
Go Fuck Yourself: CD-R
The gravelly vocals were initially off-putting, but the catchiness of the songs and lyrics that seem at first blush to be a bit more eloquent than most won me over. Five tunes of catchy, sing-along punk that is anthemic without sounding clich and gruff without sounding meatheadded. –Jimmy Alvarado (The Slow Death, myspace.com/prettyboythorson)


SLA KNIVAR:
Hemmakvlls Massakern: 7 EP
Dunno who the producer is here, but someone deserves a medal for some truly incendiary-sounding guitars. The band wrings every ounce of sleaze possible while keeping things mostly mid-tempo, but are just fucking on it the whole ride through while their singer vomits up lines like, Are you a sailor? Do you like birds? –Jimmy Alvarado (Ken Rock, myspace.com/kenrockrecords)


SLEEPWALKERS:
Your Hell Looks Like Heaven to Me: CD
A complex fusion of fast, technical, and heavy rocknroll with metal leads; plus post-punk-sounding dissonant squeals and shouted vocals make Sleepwalkers an interesting amalgam of a band. Other bands have tried to capture this kind of sound in the past, but few have succeeded the way Sleepwalkers does on this album. The songwriting chops on each of these songs are superb. No stray notes or weak riffs anywhere to slow the intense progression of the album, which grabs from the first song, White Cotton Gods, and hardly lets up. The overall production quality of the album is top-notch, with all the instruments sounding great. My only gripe is that I wish the vocals were a bit more to the front of the mix. With all the insane riffing and guitar wankery going on, the vocals sometimes get lost behind the instruments. That aside, this album is definitely worth repeated listens. Paul J. Comeau –Guest Contributor (Sleepwalkers, sleepwalkers.bandcamp.com)


SLEAZE, THE:
Crush b/w PCP: 7
Uptempo, demented, sloppy, wholly unintelligible vocals. Brilliant. –Jimmy Alvarado (Leather Bar, myspace.com/leatherbarrecords)


SHIRKS, THE:
Disease: 7 EP
Though done quite well, Disease has a Ramones base thats just a wee bit too obvious. Negative Reaction fares much better, with zippy tempos and slam-bang chord hooks. The flip, Nowhere Street, is another mid-tempo rager, easily the strongest and catchiest of the three. Good stuff, all told. –Jimmy Alvarado (Windian, windianrecords.blogspot.com)


SHANG-A-LANG / BROKEN MOUNTAIN:
Split: 7
Shang-a-Lang: You know what the ultimate prize should be? The ability to keep making music that not only keeps you alive, but encourages to keep your friends living, especially after the punk death age many hit in their late twenties. Shang-a-Langs on my permanent roster in the kickball game of life. Youll be hard-pressed to find a more resourceful, money-where-mouth-is, magic-on-a-budget DIY punk band that flat-out keeps on getting sexier as time goes on. (Mud baths? Oh, la, la.) Broken Mountain: Ive heard demos and live recordings of The Saints, prior to the horns, rougher and dirtier than the first couple of untouchable records. Should it be strange that a Japanese band not singing in their native tongue has the same clipped delivery as Australias Chris Bailey? No matter, because any band that reminds me of the swagger, chug, and freight train delivery of The Saintsll get their fair share of rotations on my record player. –Todd Taylor (Dirt Cult / Snuffy Smiles)


SEVEN SISTERS OF SLEEP:
Self-titled: 12

A mix of sludge with hardcore. Musically, the results are pretty good. They hit with some heavy riffs that work their way into you head long after the record is over. Lots of low end and the guitars sound great. The only complaint I have with this record is the vocals. They dont work well with this music at all. At times, the music gets buried under a muddy wall of yelling. I get the sense the singer is overcompensating, when he should just let the music come through and complement the whole affair with less shouting at the top of his lungs. The gatefold packaging is excellent. This comes not only with a download card, but a DVD of each of the songs, which mixes footage of films from Mario Bava, Ed Anger, and Alejandro Jodorowsky.

–Matt Average (A389, a389records.com)


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