Featured Record Reviews from Issue #92

Aug 11, 2016

TENEMENT: Bruised Music: Singles 2006-2009: CS
I wish I knew Tenement’s secret. They write enough stellar music for two or three bands. (Their latest, Predatory Headlights, is a twenty-five song double album that took three years to complete!) Bruised Music is a collection of Tenement’s earliest demos, and they sound so damn confident right out of the gate. There’s isn’t a single dull hook across these ten tunes. In fact, “Best and Worst of Times,” “Sitcom Moms,” and “Spaghetti Midwestern” still stand out as some of their best. Although the production is cleaner than Napalm Death and Predatory Headlights as the drums are upfront and the vocals are crisp, singer/guitarist Amos Pitsch blankets the songs with his distinct feedback and audacious fuzz solos for the right amount of grit. It’s incredible that Tenement can arrange an excellent full length from early recordings. That’s a testament to their raw talent and proof that their albums will withstand the test of time. –Sean Arenas (Dead Broke, deadbrokerekerds.com)

ACID FAST: Last Night on Earth: LP
Not immediately catching, but like the feeling you’re left with after your best friend goes home after a sleep over, you’ll flip it over and over, anticipating the needle drop as much as the next friendship overnighter. Open and warm, an LP to float through the window leading to the porch on a sun-beaten summer day. Not breezy tunes, but tight music made by and for tight friends. Harkens to early ‘90s Gainesville or Midwest basement shows. Unafraid to get weird, get dirty, or put their heart on the line. Take this album to your next grill and chill punk party. –Matt Seward (Salinas, salinasrecords.com)

Ah Fuck: guitar and bass accompaniment to a dystopian future where technology has outsmarted itself. Agonized vocals echo in and sit down next to you to share in your frustration and to remind you that life is meaningless but beautiful. Rush Awesome: droplets of colorful sound bouncing off your brain before leading you into a labyrinth of perpetual ambient bliss. Expert use of tape looping reveals true artistic craftsmanship. Fucking brilliant through and through. –Juan Espinosa (Gilgongo, gilgongorecords.com)

ANGRY COUGARS: Self-titled: LP
About twenty years ago, I remember reading the liner notes to some album in which the writer related the story of how, when his uncle heard the Sonics for the first time back in the ‘60s, he jumped up, bonked a bookshelf with his head, and emphatically exclaimed “HOT DAMN! THIS SOUNDS LIKE A BUNCHA (N-WORDS)!” The writer continued by detailing that he had a similar reaction upon his first listen to whatever band it was for which he had written said liner notes, but, being a well-behaved lad, his emphatic exclamation was remiss the racial slur —his point (on which I am offering no opinion whatsoever) being something akin to, “White dudes who play raw, wild rock’n’roll don’t sound like white dudes. They sound like black dudes.” I had somewhat of a parallel experience with the Angry Cougars, although my experience was wholly devoid of real or imagined racial overtones: I had no fucking idea until I got to the second-to-the-last song that this band’s singer wasn’t a guy, and the only thing that tipped me off was a gender reference. Now, not to open up a vast and hugely boring can of worms, but, in my antediluvian reptilian forebrain, I just jumped up, bonked my head on a bookshelf, and yelled “HOT DAMN! THIS SOUNDS LIKE A DUDE!” and there was much rejoicing. Betty Machete rips shit UP, man! The drums go POUND POUND POUND and the guitar goes GNAW GNAW GNAW, and brother, you’ll have a bookshelf-shaped dent in your head right quick if you know what’s best for you. BEST SONG: “Beat Your Ass.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Bullet?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The vinyl has each song title etched in the wax before each song! Fucking brilliant! ­–Rev. Nørb (Breakup)

AVENUE Z: Azimut: CD
Never in my life did I ever think I would become a fan of weirdo synthesizer music, yet here we are. Avenue Z is a French band that is predominately synth and trashy guitar-driven. If you are thinking of some unholy spawn of The Spits and Mind Spiders, you would be definitely on the right track. I am quickly becoming obsessed with this album. It is sung in French, but the lyric sheet is translated into English and Japanese. I love how the mood can switch up so quickly from track to track, from fuzz guitar spazz out to effects-laden groove trips and back again. I can’t get enough of this. –Ty Stranglehold (Slovenly, slovenly.com)

BEACH PATROL: Eudaimonia: CD
I wish I wrote reviews for Roctober, then my whole review could be “You-da-MAN-i-a!” or “Eudaimoniamania!” or even the wrestling-themed “EU! DAI-ROCKS! EU! DAI-ROCKS!” but I do not, so you’ll just have to bear with me. I don’t recall too many albums out of twenty-first century Green Bay I’ve enjoyed more than their debut, The Grass Is Always Greener Til You Get There (which, for me, came out about two or three cars ago, when these guys were either still in high school or perilously close to it), but their two follow-ups seemed to be meandering towards that sort of dull, capable, mature Americana that seemingly appeals to no one other than people who write for local music papers and members of other bands who play that sort of dull, capable, mature Americana. With Eudaimonia (it’s a Green Bay thing, you wouldn’t understand) (okay, actually it’s an Aristotle thing. You still wouldn’t understand), however, the band appears to have figured out what they want to sound like now that they’re (gak!) thirty, and, thankfully, it’s not some overly housebroken attempt at proficient mediocrity. Nay! This album is sort of like having Elvis Costello, John Cougar Mellencamp, Ray Davies, Greg Kihn, and Mike Gent imitating Mick Jagger all taking turns farting in your mouth, but the interiors of their desiccated husks are a geode-like prism of Pixy Stix filling, so you taste nothing but the hearty tang of ascorbic acid and natural sweeteners! Look! They have finally become a beautiful butterfly! ADORE THEM! ADORE THEM! BEST SONG: “Line ‘Em Up.” BEST SONG TITLE: I dunno, but isn’t it weird how “Flower in the Dark” comes right after “Standing in the Light?” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Fuck do I hate Cooper Black. Good work. –Rev. Nørb (Barely Standing, barelystandingrecords.com)

BESMIRCHERS, THE: Hard on Love: 7”
Here are some gross perverts making gross pervert music. You’ve got a couple of choices with this record. You could get all caught up in a moral quandary, questioning your sense of right and wrong as you rock out to these super fast and super tight tunes about Hitler and rape and boners and Liberace. Or you could just smash a beer bottle against you’re head until you’re bloody and go with the flow. Either way, the Besmirchers probably don’t give a shit. –MP Johnson (Slope)

BORN DEPRIVED: Party Hard Core Punk: CD
Figuring prominently in their logo on the cover is a pot leaf, which means this can go one of two ways: the first is that the weed could result in the band tapping into some deep pit of creativity, whereupon they push against staid boundaries and come up with truly fresh and new ideas that make it a joy to play that shit as loud as possible while screaming, “Yes, sweet minty jesus, yes! Artistes they is!” Sadly, the band under scrutiny went for option two: play loose, sloppy hardcore that sounds like most of their rehearsal time is spent trading bong rips and melting into the carpet. Funny for all the wrong reasons. –Jimmy Alvarado (SBS, fuckyeahsbsrecords.com)

CLOSET FIENDS: Self-titled: 7”
So this is really, really terrible. But, at the same time, the singer is really trying to sound bad—both in the deliberately bad caterwaul singing way and the moral way, as in “look at how baaad I’m being.” So that’s not really much of a dig. You see, what you get here is spacebag folk, the exact same sort you’ll hear crusties play on corners of every major city every summer before it gets cold and they go back to New Orleans. Spacebag folk is a true folk tradition orally handed down from crusty to crusty, like the dogs they don’t want to take care of when they’re done spanging and leave town. So why did Fat Wreck sign this up and will there be more? Because there’s no shortage of conformist crusties hacking up lungs trying sound ugly while singing about drugs? Is Fat Mike the Alan Lomax of punk now? To be fair, Fiends do show some lyrical chops and she succeeds at what she’s trying to do. So I ain’t mad at ‘em. That’s a come up. I just wish I didn’t have to be the one to listen to it. –Craven Rock (Fat Wreck)

People should be thankful for labels like Big Neck. These guys deserve a round of applause for digging up brand-spanking new bands—seemingly a lot of first releases. For a moment, it appeared the label was wrapping up shop, so it’s nice to know that isn’t the case. Getting on to the record at hand, if it wasn’t already obvious, Danger Signs are great. The vocals are some solid, fuzzy, Reatard-esque worship (nothing wrong with that), while the music’s quite slick and tight, with no shortage of well-coordinated guitar parts. Comparisons could be a more-serious Mean Jeans, with definite nods to sounds from the nineties (like Scared Of Chaka, for example). Big Neck led me to discover Baseball Furies and tons of other great bands over the last decade and a half, and it’s great to see them still alive and kickin’. –Steve Adamyk (Big Neck, bigneckrecords.com)

DAVID ARVEDON: The Best of David Arvedon: LP
The falsetto juggernaut behind the Psychotics’ 1967 non-smash “Till the Stroke of Dawn” (the second-best vampire song of all time, trailing only “A Bat Bit My Ass on the Way to the Drugstore”), the long-running David Arvedon must have surely sired Daniel Johnston, Jad Fair, D.J. Lebowitz, and John Trubee, presumably in a single night of wanton frolic with one or all of the Wiggin sisters, Polaroids of which would almost certainly break the internet and cause eBay to fatally rupture. What can I say about this legend that hasn’t been uttered previously? Well, gazing at the album cover, I guess, “He sure looks blue” might suffice. Lyric of the album: “My bodyguards have shotguns / my lawyers all are hot ones.” Look, he even invented rap! BEST SONG: “Till the Stroke of Dawn” BEST SONG TITLE: “When Your Name is Jalapos Pakedos.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The catalog number of the original pressing of the “Till the Stroke of Dawn” single is 201,438. ­–Rev. Nørb (Mighty Mouth)

DAVID PEEL & DEATH: King of Punk: LP
David Peel is a veritable institution of the ‘60s music underground who sang odes to marijuana and the usual countercultural topics, as well as penning the anti-cop anthem, “Up Against the Wall,” which included “motherfucker” months before the MC5’s use of that word caused all hell to break loose. This is Peel’s 1978 album, wherein he crowns himself sovereign of a scene he influenced. Here, in addition to the requisite songs extolling the virtues of the weed, you get sloppy, repetitive piss takes about murder, asshole cops, asshole punk stars, and an eleven-minute musing on the death of Rolling Stones founder and guitarist Brian Jones. Surprisingly, things turn out well more often than not, thanks in no small part to Peel’s wicked sense of humor, which occasionally recalls Black Randy’s finer moments. Will it wow the “Johnny Thunders is god” set? Probably not, but that’s likely the very people he set out to piss off in the first place, which alone makes it more than worth the effort. An idol setting out to kill his prodigy: it rarely gets more punk than that. –Jimmy Alvarado (HoZac, hozacrecords.com)

DYKE DRAMA: Tender Resignation: 12 EP
Are you a tender babe who spent hot summer afternoons stretched across the back seat of your mom’s station wagon singing along to The Gin Blossoms years before cutting your teeth on bootleg Discharge CDs? If so, holy fuck, Tender Resignation was made for you. This is the first Dyke Drama release, totally written and performed by Sadie Switchblade, better known for her work as lead chanteuse of Olympia hardcore staple G.L.O.S.S. Tender Resignation has heavy bedroom-diary-come-to-life vibes. It shines in moments of glaring intimacy like the low-fi guitar and vocals anthem “Crying in a Bathroom Stall,” which sounds like it was probably recorded in the middle of the night in her home bathroom. “Hardest Years,” is a reflection on fucked-up adolescence driven by tambourine hits and hearty organ layers. Listening to this, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Kathleen Hannah’s 1997 Julie Ruin process. Switchblade’s songs bridge pop punk and outlaw country aesthetics while keeping underlying feels of both candid reflection and rebellion. Especially recommend this for femme and queer punks processing the trappings of your twenties. The layout of this EP is damn cool, featuring photos of Switchblade that summon ‘60s pop country femme power and punk grit simultaneously. This record gets inside of you and doesn’t let go. –Candace Hansen (Salinas, salinasrecords.com)

Well, this is dark and uncomfortable. Four tracks of dissociated, post-punky hardcore with unsettling monotone vocals. The lyrics are rife with serial killer references and blasé death threats to the general public. A Flipper sort of nihilism radiates off this thing; the band probably would have printed the artwork in black on black if they could have. The sing-songy way the vocalist drawls “Track mark arms race” over and over at the end of the cassette is the most shudder-inducing thing I’ve heard in months. But for some reason I let it flip and start over again? –Indiana Laub (Self-released, [email protected])

EXPLOITED: Horror Epics: LP
When I was a nipper in the mid-’80s, the Exploited were seen as being clownish. I was too late for the first wave of ‘81/’82 punk and by the mid-’80s I was busy being surly with Crass, Conflict, and U.K. Hardcore. The Exploited were giant mohicans and bondage trousers, spitting and fighting, playing dumb songs about chaos and hating everyone. When I actually listened to them, I realized they fucking rip. From then on, I’m more inclined to throw on the Exploited than Crass. True story. This LP was their fourth and the last one of any relevance before they went metal and Wattie braided his mohawk. While this LP is nowhere near the genius of Punks Not Dead or Troops of Tomorrow, it is still a great listen, from the tribal drums of the first song to one of my personal faves—”Maggie” with the unforgettable, “Maggie… Maggie you cunt” chorus. Every punk should own at least one Exploited record (or many, like me). Get the other three first, but pick this one up too if you think you’re punk enough. –Tim Brooks (PHR)

FACE TO FACE: Protection: CD
What’s old is new, right? You’ve got to hand it to Fat Mike, along with every active veteran band on his label. They’ve really done a hell of a job after all these years of keeping their brand and their bands relevant. We’re well past the “skate-punk revival” phase, so credit given when credit’s due. Protection marks Face To Face’s return to label after about twenty-five years, since the release of their debut (and much loved), Don’t Turn Away. They are poised to return to their roots. Truthfully, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard a new record of theirs. Scott Shiflett is still “the new guy” to me, and he’s been in the band for twenty years. The last album I owned was likely their self-titled record from 1997 (which was around the last time I saw them live, as well), but I am aware they never deviated too much from their original sound. And, while credited as a band with the classic Fat Wreck drum beat, that really isn’t the case, given most of the tunes had a unique, slightly-beyond-mid-tempo pace. I can’t think of many other bands from that era that had the same set tempo. Protection, though, is likely the closest they’ve gotten to the sound they achieved on Don’t Turn Away and Big Choice. While also largely credited to the incredible job done by the Blasting Room trifecta of Bill, Jason, and Andrew, we can acknowledge this isn’t an easy task. The record starts out with “Bent But Not Broken” and doesn’t let up—no ballads, no excessive ambience, and lots of “whoa oh’s.” I’m sure this release will entice those to dig a little deeper through the last couple of albums, myself included. –Steve Adamyk (Fat, fatwreck.com)

FEAR: Neighbors: 7”
From the vaults comes this three-song record featuring John Belushi on vocals. The 2015 remix starts things off with a crack and it ends with the original 1981 mix by Steve Cropper (yes-that Steve Cropper who recorded with Otis Redding). The Cropper mix features some dialogue from the movie. Sandwiched in between is the original Fear version. This will wet your whistle until more Fear reissues come down the pike. –Sean Koepenick (Atom Age Industries)

I’m not familiar enough with the Murphy’s Law catalog to know if they ever released a record entitled “Future Idiots,” but this is Scandinavian Fat Wreck kinda music, where it sounds like they spent about four paychecks and a ruby on the drum sound alone, which sounds like a very well-miked basketball, which I can’t stand. I hate to break it to ya, but if you think this is a cool drum sound, there ain’t no “Future” component to the Idiocy, if you huff what the Rev is farting. Only two songs out of eleven are under three minutes in length; two also exceed four minutes. Again, if you think pop punk is constructed around creating three-and-a-half-minute songs, you are not only completely clueless about how the physics of your chosen socio-acoustic milieu operates, but you’ve also severely and repeatedly overestimated your ability to hold the listener’s interest. I fuckin’ hate records like this. However, you all seem like cool guys, so we should hang out some time. BEST SONG: “Stranglehold,” although I admit I did not listen to it. BEST SONG TITLE: “This Isn’t D&D,” although it might as well be. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: My local record store won’t buy any CDs that don’t have UPC symbols, so I owe you guys a classy solid. ­–Rev. Nørb (Pacific Ridge, pacificridgerecord.com)

GET BENT: Discography: LP
Having listened to Side A of this record in demo format for many years, I was stoked to see this band’s discography being released. Careworn, thoughtful punk that merges the political and the personal in a way that comes off as earnest rather than cloying or demeaning. Jagged melodies akin to the inevitable—there’s a heavy similarity to compatriots Latterman—but also the Insurgent, State Lottery, and RVIVR. The second side seems fuller, the songs busier and still really good, but also a little less nuanced, though maybe that’s simply because I haven’t been listening to those songs for years and years. This is a terrific band, and my only complaint is that no lyric sheet was included—these songs seem smart as hell and it would’ve been nice to finally peruse them in complete and printed form. Regardless, this one’ll definitely spin frequently around here. –Keith Rosson (Dead Broke)

HATE: Self-titled: CD-R EP
Boyle Heights hardcore that just fucking wallops from the word go. Instead of opting for the Casualties-influenced so-called street punk template that’s all the rage in the backyards these days, these cats dig deep into the catalogs of Chaos U.K. and Disorder and just let fly with some of the best hardcore to come out of the local scene in fuggin’ ages. Coming where I come from, I wholly admit my bias, but for my money this is thee standout release of the issue. –Jimmy Alvarado (Hate, hate666.bandcamp.com)

JOY SUBTRACTION: Hate Will Keep Us Together: LP
I was listening to this while doing the dishes and kind of getting into a whole self-loathing trip. The second song came on. I was pretty sure I was mishearing the lyrics as “I Feel Like Frank Stallone,” which made me giggle. But I liked those lyrics, so that’s how I sang along. As my fingers pruned up, I got to dreading the point at which I’d actually have to look at the record and find out what the song was really called. Probably something boring about “I Feel Like Being Alone.” But then when I finished the dishes and lotioned up my hands and got the record all goopy, I discovered that was actually the title and I felt like these guys understood and I was going to be okay tonight. I read along to the rest of the lyrics about making a mate out of car parts in the garage and stuff like that. Lyrics that dealt with angst and disappointment in life with a weird and hopeful sense of fun, which is what I really needed. And the music matched perfectly. Kind of dark, but with lots of weird little sparkly flourishes. Complicated but not assholish-ly so, and thoughtful in a totally thoughtless way. –MP Johnson (Sailor Records, sailorrecords.com)

No. Just… no. Okay, wait. Let’s walk it back a little bit. Are you bummed that there are only so many Gin Blossoms and Third Eye Blind records in the world? This horseshit is for you then! There are some trumpets, there’s a lot of whining, there’s a lot of open mic night going on. Here’s a lyric sample: “You live just like a yard sale / one weekend to the next.” I couldn’t even finish a song. It blows my mind that something like this would come to Razorcake, but I just learned that the Goo Goo Dolls had two albums on Metal Blade Records, so what the fuck do I know about the world? –Kayla Greet (75orless, 75orlessrecords.com)

PARTY FLAG: You Can’t Handle the Truth: CS
A distinctly Floridian theme permeates Fort Lauderdale punks Party Flag’s image. From their logo—a fiery subversion of Disney’s iconic castle—to the plump stripper pole dancing on one of their stickers, to the naked granny who graces the front of their You Can’t Handle the Truth EP—I can’t tell if she’s a nudist or it’s a porn still—the only thing missing is a gator and some NASCAR. Despite the band’s apparently strong regional identity, these five tracks would seem at home in any place and any era. Their lyrics are funny in a harrowing way, teeming with the signature punk puerility, crassness, and nihilism that perfectly accompany the music’s straightforward aggression and pervasive catchiness. Highlights include vocalist Justine Iukine menacingly slurring, “I don’t care who stands beside me / You’re the one I wanna fuck,” on “Fermentation” and guitarist Jared Earl’s joyously haphazard riffing on “Blue Skies, Black.” Both of which will be stuck in my head for the next week. –Kelley O’Death (No Work, [email protected], noworkrecords.com)

PURPLE 7: Garden Eyes: LP
When you distill the laid-back Dinosaur Jr vibes of Landlord, the singalongs of Defiance, OH, the spontaneity of Hot New Mexicans, and the soulful bravado of Reigning Sound, what remains is Purple 7. Opener “Company” sets the tone: a head-bobbing beat, a striking bass line, infectious vocals, a warm Midwestern pop sensibility. Every subsequent song perfects the formula without repeating itself. “Hope So” blitzes like the Buzzcocks and “Mother to Be” trades distorted power chords for open acoustic guitar chords without sounding hackneyed. Closer “Have to Go” is a rollicking rock’n’roll gem with spiraling guitars and a big chorus with backing harmonies. From front to back, Purple 7’s balance of swagger and vulnerability makes Garden Eyes punk pop perfection. –Sean Arenas (Salinas, salinasrecords.com)

Awesome, primitive, caveman punk rock from the school of The Spits. How embarrassing to discover that this great band is from my own city, San Francisco, and it took a Reno, Nevada record label sending a CD to a Los Angeles zine for me to discover them. Darker and more desperate than The Spits, which makes total sense given the dark times that we rock and rollers are going through just trying to “scrape” by in the most expensive city in the country. (Sidebar: Bring it on, San Andreas. Scare these fucking khaki shorts and flip-flop-wearing rich tech bros away!). Misery is a wonderful record from front to back, and a refreshing new entry into the great canon of San Francisco punk rock. Gonna have to check The List and see when these local biblical heroes (two of them are named Noah and Moses, after all) are playing next. –Chad Williams (Slovenly, slovenly.com)

SERIOUS SAM BARRETT: Sometimes You’ve Got to Lose: LP
Serious Sam Barrett is your friend. A musician you can rely on. Write, record, tour. He does it with such regularity, as if his actions are dictated by the gravitational pull of the moon. Time after time he shows his dedication to DIY, punk, and making honest, heart-felt music. The music is acoustic, it’s olde timey, and it’s traditional country/folk music. It encapsulates simplicity while being technical and ambitious. And though I may never find myself listening to his records in the middle of the day, this music is made for early mornings and late nights. It can be both energizing and tranquil. It’s reliable like that. –Daryl (YaDig?)

ULTRA: Bay Area Babylon: CS
Ultra is that underpriced tin of Aldi coffee; so good you need to know—were the beans handsome? How long has the bean tree been spillin’ these goods? Is this a Pepsi? But no info appears on the can because Aldi doesn’t care. It’s Aldi. Get your cheap yum yums and your full body pillow on sale and get outta here. That’s Ultra, too. All I know is they hail from Oakland, and track number three on the Bay Area Babylon cassette, “Perpetual Violence,” starts with thrashy clatter and gives way to a rousing one-time chorus—”Architects in a game / puppeteers they got names”—that rinses away tough grime and yields catchy punk gold that Raygun would travel back in time to steal. What else to say? They’ve got a song about boozing in ancient Sumer, a song with a goofball hallelujah, too—”Take me to church / make it hurt.” The singer sounds like an angry Pee Wee Herman in the best way. Tasty bass lines thwump around under all-business guitar. Too slurmy to be pop, too catchy to be hardcore. Who are you Ultra, my rock’n’roll mystery baby? I wanna get to know you. There are only a hundred of these cassette pups out there. Goin’ get. –Jim Joyce (Self-released, [email protected], livelifeultra.bandcamp.com)

I’ll acknowledge right off that I got the second pressing of this here comp. I totally slept on the first press, being skeptical about comp-ing the ‘90s. Do you remember “ska punk?” Yeah. Then I dialed back my spazz-burst and remembered the good records I bought that decade, the great bands I saw, the great bands I passed on seeing (Teengenerate, why?) Destroy All Art is everything a comp of ‘90s punk should be. I haven’t heard most of the bands, haven’t even heard of three-quarters of them. Liner notes include band info, sleeve pics, and pressing stats. Now I’m in a memory rabbit hole of ‘90s record-buying records adventures... Buying the same records as your friends because you went to the same shows or the same stores together... How the tastes of the record store clerk really influenced what everyone bought (Alan from Flipside Records in Pompton Lakes, NJ, I’m thinking of you!)... Mail order being a dodgy affair (remember putting second and third choices on your list in case someone was out of stock? Remember mailing cash and actually expecting someone to send you a record?) There are no low points on Destroy All Art, but my high points are I’m Gonna Stab You’s “The Slide,” Epileptix’s “Self-hate,” (liners say this was a Timmy Vulgar band? Epileptix are one of the two bands I remember hearing back in the ‘90s) Last Sons Of Krypton’s “Atom Bomb,” (the other band I remember hearing back then) and Red Stars’ “Welcome to the Party.” I’m most surprised how good these songs sound. I certainly remember buying many records that sounded like the band’s drum set was made of cardboard boxes. Pair this record up with the other recent comp of great ‘90s no-hits, We’re Loud. –Sal Lucci (Rock N’ Roll Parasite)

VARIOUS ARTISTS: The Dicks from Texas and Friends: CD
Like most compilations, tribute records are dicey, and I’d venture to say even more so because the music of the original artist is often long ago ingrained in the psyches of so many fans. Most comps. likely end up in assorted landfills, to be found centuries later by intrepid diggers who will take one listen and not look fondly on this civilization. This here is an exception. A ton of different folks paying their respects to one to Texas’ finest bands, some you likely know, some you don’t—Brian Winterman, The Bulemics, The Surlys, Cunto!, Brewtality Incorporated, Black Irish Texas, The Beaumonts, Pocket Fishermen, The Gay Sportscasters, Poor Dumb Bastards, The Dickins, New Mystery Girl, El Pathos, Black Eyed Vermillion, The Fuckemos, The Flash Boys, Churchwood, Jesus Christ Superfly, The Jesus Lizard, Doug Hilsinger, Texas Terri & The Stiff Ones, The Offenders, Mike Watt & The Secondmen, Scorpio Rising, The Punkaroos, Pretty Mouth, and Garish—and many take the time and trouble to serve up their own interpretations rather than play it by the numbers. The further they stray from the originals, the better the results. Sure, there are some less than stellar entries (and no, I’m not gonna point ‘em out, you damned troublemakers), but even those never despoil their own reputations or the Dicks. Nice to see that, like the tributees, this comp is a cut above the rest. –Jimmy Alvarado (The Dicks From Texas, thedicksfromtexas.com)

WITCHES WITH DICKS: Not Just a Passing Season: LP
Witches With Dicks is a lovable, longstanding Boston pop punk band with a strong resemblance to The Arrivals or Dillinger Four. It’s a pleasure hearing these new tracks, all of which shine due to ideal production. The vocals have a nice edge to them, keeping the singalongs decidedly non-corny, which is no small feat. Even more so than with most other bands, hearing this release on vinyl demonstrates how much better a record sounds than a shitty download. Seek out this gem of an LP if you enjoy powerful, melodic punk. It’s absolutely incredible. –Art Ettinger (Self-released, witcheswithdicks.bandcamp.com)

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