Record Reviews

BEV RAGE & THE DRINKS: Exes and Hexes: 12” LP

What can you expect from this Chicago tongue-in-cheek drag-queercore band? Precise, alt-pop punk, that’s punchy, snotty, and melodic. Bev Rage is grown-ass sass with a full sneer of adolescence that’s just as ridiculous as it is dead serious, with dumb but quipping lyrics, fierce guitar, and fast-fingered bass… you know they must just rage live. […]

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BITCH QUEENS: Party Hard(ly): Mini-LP

Oh my lord; save me reviewer gods. What the absolute fuckery is this? Swiss band with a million releases, long hair, makeup, and that cut-off denim, no shirt Turbonegro vibe. It’s a party rock record like the Foo Fighters or something. Is “cock rock” still a phrase? I know there’s a space for this in […]

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BLISTER: Early Onset: CS

Portland’s synth-heavy death rock outfit effectively bridges many styles on this full-length tape. With influences ranging from new wave to stoner rock, it’s more diverse than most of the other groups coming out of the reborn darkwave trend of today. Dual vocals and lo-fi recording add to the creepiness, which seems more important to Blister […]

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BOW & SPEAR: Way Vivid: CS

Self described as “grungegaze,” which is an unfortunate descriptor but entirely accurate. The first song sounds a lot like Dinosaur Jr with “grunge” vocals instead of the beloved high pitched Mascis voice we all love. Songs do not have any real hooks to latch onto and are also not jarring enough to move into noise […]

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BRUCE LICHER: Exploratorium: CD

These are some “solo ambient guitar home recordings” made by Savage Republic and Scenic’s Bruce Licher, put out on his own Independent Project Records. Just from the packaging, you can tell this is a labor of love: oversized die-cut pocket folder, including a card for each song and the CD itself. This isn’t too far […]

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CALL IN DEAD: “Patriarchy” b/w “Religious Wars”: 7”

Taking the concept of “calling in stupid” to the next level, this is a four-piece band from Orlando. The first song is about toxic masculinity, which goes beyond those guys in a pit who insist on not wearing a shirt while getting their sweat on everyone within range. The flip is a Subhumans (U.K.) cover. […]

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CALL IN DEAD: Deepest Condolences: LP

Subsequent to the release of this debut album from Orlando’s Call In Dead, they got a new singer. The one on Deepest Condolences is a student of popular 1980s vocalists like Kevin Seconds, Dave Dictor, and Ian MacKaye, channeling different icons specifically at individual moments. There aren’t too many bands that sound this retro these […]

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CHELSEA: Radio Active Tapes: LP

I feared it might’ve hit its pinnacle of quality with The Boys release a while back, but nope, Gutterwail once again outdoes itself with a collection of outtakes and demos from this revered early U.K. punk group. Thirteen tracks, some well-known and some a bit more obscure, and every one of them is the kind […]

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CLAIMED CHOICE: We Won’t Give In: LP

While people look to the mean little island, (I’m from U.K.) as the home of oi, I always look to my French pals. Kidnap, Komintern Sect, Camera Silens paved the way for a “sound” that is aped across the globe. Claimed Choice from Lyon, with a Parisian on guitar, mine everything I love about French […]

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CLASS: Epoca de Los Vaqueros: LP

This album contains a solid slab of early East Coast-influenced thought-forward punk and rock from Tucson, Ariz. The first song on the album, “The Way It Goes,” is a mid-paced mover with a bit of Dead Boys phrasing and attitude. “Cockney Rebel” is a guitar-laden swinger with a catchy chorus. The guitar solo is reminiscent […]

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CLOSE ENCOUNTER: Just Visiting: CD

Some well-executed, juvenile pop punk that feels like it’s from a small town. It also feels especially indebted to Green Day and the larger ’90s punk frame of mind. I thought based on the band name, the artwork, and the titles of the first couple tracks (“The Arrival,” “Abducted”) that this would be a concept […]

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COMPILATIONS: Powerless: 12”

One cool rock’n’roll cover plus three originals, each with a different vocalist but ALL impressively arranged and performed, with a notable and ALL-encompassing vibe. For those who have been patiently waiting twenty years for new music from your favorite mass nerders, this EP kinda scratches that itch while you continue to wait. ALL? No, not […]

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