Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review #135: Sonic Youth - Bad Moon Rising (1985)


Year: 1985
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: No-Wave, Post-Punk, Noise
Label: Last Warning Records
Tracks: 10
Length: 37 Minutes
Style: Mysterious/Dark
My Rating: 6/8

Bad Moon Rising was the third album by the band formerly known as Red Milk. It's the last Sonic Youth album that was released before Steve Shelley became the band's drummer, and the last one also before they started to change their sound to a more poppy, melodic style (though from here you can tell they were already heading in that direction). The band was signed to Homestead Records around the time of this album's release, also home of their future friends, Dinosaur Jr... well, I can't think of a whole ton to say about this album right now. It has a pretty cool pumpkin on the cover, I guess... ooh! And it's on fire! Oh boy! Okay, now I'm going to review this album. Here goes, kiddiez!

1. Intro
The intro! It's an airy sort of piece... just a peaceful-sounding repetitive guitar melody and little strokes of electric guitar strings in the background swooping around like birdies in the sky. It's not very long.

2. Brave Men Run (In My Family)
The song is actually pretty melodic in some parts, but there's a general abrasiveness to it, for sure, especially during one part not long after a minute through. After that, though, the song cools down and after about a minute and a half, the guitar that guides the melody sounds very clean... well, DID. Things are always changing around. Midway through the song, Kim Gordon starts singing. The drums sound really good, here. Some of the guitars sound like windchimes. Others sound like the wind itself.

3. Society is a Hole
Begins with repeated loud sounds that sound like a factory or something. Over these effects, the band begins to play the next song. Some layers of the song sound happy (like the bass guitar), but the other guitars are kind of sad-sounding. Almost like a person who's at the bottom trying to get up, with the people in slightly higher positions in society discouraging him from even trying because they know the pain that trying brings. Thurston sings this song. He blames society for making him lie to his friends (who are girls wrapped in boys). He feels that we're living in pieces, when we should be living in peace. Some of the guitars ring like large bells. Some of them ring like small bells. Notice that the sound effects that were playing at the beginning of this song have been playing this whole time! This fades out for a clippet of a very cut-and-spliced version of "Not Right" by the Stooges.

4. I Love Her All the Time
SPOOOOKY NOISES. It's like being in a dark, desolate wasteland or a scary forest, with just the wind blowing around and no idea where you are. Very ominous feel to this track, so far. The beat is kind of slow, here. Thurston sings in this song. The second part of the song (about one third through) introduces very aggressive, heavy guitars that swoop into the main continuum, and the song gets slightly faster for a moment. Eventually the drumming goes away, and then it's just guitars and singing. The song ends with a little feedback and the bang fucking around with their instruments. It's the longest song on the album, being over seven minutes long. End of Side 1.

5. Ghost Bitch
An ocean of feedback and guitar noise and static. Kim Gordon provides a spoken intro for this song. The drums come in about halfways through the song, and the main part of the song begins. Very intense. The guitar "riff" here is really neat to listen to. Repetitive, but in an effective way. And of course, there's always little things going on in the background. There's a very slow outro. The rhythm guitar buzzes and swarms around like a group of mutant killer mosquitoes.

6. I'm Insane
The beat gets a little faster here, and the mosquitoes of track 5 are transformed a graceful wisping sound. The guitar makes the sound of clanging steel. Of course, there's other things going on as well. I'm not sure if I'm hearing a bass guitar or a piano in this song... Thurston sings here. The lyrics here really are insane, but in a good way. Is a dog really a bear? Inside his head, it is.

7. Justice Is Might
Crunchy creepy noises and squeaking. You can hear Thurston speaking through a megaphone and stuttering, trying to explain the song (he was probably baked during this part). The guitars begin playing a tune. And now, Thurston sings! JUSTICE IS MIGHT! As sure as Thurston is singing, Justice is might. Then everything gets really fuzzed out around the second half of the song.

8. Death Valley '69
The most "normal" and well-known song on the album. Probably because of the music video, which does feature Lung Leg, who looks very nice in that video. Yes, yes. Anyways, Lydia Lunch from Teenage Jesus & the Jerks does backing vocals in this song. It definitely would make a good theme for a movie or something. The first part of the song is aggressive, adventurous, and to-the-point. The second part is darker, dangerous, and more uncertain. There's an element of fear in that part. Near the end of the second part, there's a gradual build-up which leads to the third part, which pretty much a repeat of the first part of the song. I heard somewhere that this song was based on Charles Manson and the Manson family or something like that. And Kim Gordon's brother was killed by the Manson family. It's very interesting in that perspective. DUUUURGHHH.

Welp, after this album, the band got signed to SST Records (home of Black Flag), and they released their next album, "EVOL", in which they moved away from the no-wave genre and focused more on linear-sounding punk rock. This album's mostly no-wave but it has more melodic moments than the two albums before it do. And, also, they did the first Sonic Youth music video with the release of this album. It's a pretty great video. So, check it out, if you haven't already watched it...

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Brave Men Run (In My Family)
2. Death Valley '69
3. Ghost Bitch


Monday, June 28, 2010

Review #134: Agnostic Front - United Blood (EP) (1983)


Year: 1983
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore
Label: Last Warning Records
Tracks: 10
Length: 6 Minutes
Style: Angry/Political
My Rating: 5/8

Agnostic Front is one of the most famous New York hardcore punk bands and the group was formed by a bunch of skinheads in 1981. "United Blood" was the first release the band ever came out with, and for a long time, it was extremely rare. Roger Miret's voice sounds very different, and not as raspy as on "Victim in Pain" as much as just some chanting and yelling type vocals, here. This EP is pretty short, so let's listen, shall we?

1. No One Rules
This song goes off on the upper class telling them that they have "no right and no balls" to tell them what to do. Very fast. The chorus contains a little bit of lead guitar.

2. Final War
Even faster! This song declares "the Final War" as being citizens against the [American] government.

3. Last Warning
One of the best Agnostic Front songs ever. Great guitar riff in both parts. The verse is slow, and the chorus is extremely fast. In the chorus, the riff is very raging and frantic. This song would later be re-recorded for "Victim in Pain". That version's even better than this one.

4. Traitor
This song is about a backstabber who pretends he's your friend and then becomes your enemy when you're not around.

5. Friend Or Foe
Wow, a song over a minute long! Pretty much elaborates on the same theme as the song before it. I like the intro. End of Side 1.

6. United Blood
Another slow song. The verse is, at least. The chorus goes into the very fast mode. Similar to "Last Warning" in that way. The verse section starts out with only bass until the other instruments cut in. It's got a very dark tone to it.

7. Fight
Shortest song on the EP. Very fast, also (but you probably already knew that). It's about people rioting, fighting, stabbing, and killing eachother. Yep.

8. Discriminate Me
A song that manages to be fast without being too fast. The first section is fast. The mid-section is slow, and has a really good riff. The guitar really brings out the crunch in that part. In the last section it repeats one segment of the first part. This song points out the hypocrisy in people who call the song's protagonist a "bum", when they're the ones denying him any opportunities to get anywhere in life.

9. In Control
Another one of my favorites on this album. The chorus section just has a nice roll to it. I think it's the drums or something. It kinda holds back the pent up energy which is released in the verse parts. Anyways, I like this one.

10. Crucial Changes
By this point, there's not too much I can say about this track that I haven't already said for other songs... it's a problem I run into a lot when reviewing generic-sounding hardcore records. At the end, Roger makes a "bleeaagh" sound. Hehe!

The best song on the 7", "Last Warning", made it onto the band's first LP, and deservingly so. For some reason, this EP has always been kinda scarce. Therefore, it has been re-released many different times. First, the original pressing in 1983. Then it was re-released in 1989 (with new cover art) to raise money for Roger Miret (who was in court because of drug charges). Then the band included the EP at the end of the live album "Last Warning" in 1993. Then recently, the band re-released the EP in its original form around 2009 or so (and also included it at the end of the CD re-issue of "Victim in Pain"). So now, hopefully you can get your hands on the 7" version. I dunno. It's probably still rare. I grabbed the only CD of "Victim in Pain" the moment I saw it in the store. And it has this EP at the end for a bonus. So yeah, it's not extremely great, but it's good enough, so check it out if you're interested. Seeya later!

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Last Warning
2. In Control
3. Discriminate Me

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Review #133: Ween - The Crucial Squeegie Lip (1986)


Year: 1986
Genre: Experimental Rock, Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Noise, Hardcore
Label: Bird O' Pray Records
Tracks: 40
Length: 46 Minutes
Style: Funny/Weird
My Rating: 6/8

Ween is one of my favorite bands of all time, and they formed in 1984. The band originally formed as a duo, with the permanent members, Gene Ween and Dean Ween (Aaron Freeman & Michael Melchiondo Jr. at this point) and a drum machine supplying the beats. The two were only 14 years old and not even in high school yet when the band was formed. While many believe "God Ween Satan" to be the band's first album, they really released their first album as a tape independently called "The Crucial Squeegie Lip" on Bird O' Pray Records (who would put out all of their other albums pre-God Ween Satan throughout the mid to late 1980s). The two were 16 years old by this point, and even though they are young and the quality is murky, the great things about Ween are pretty much already here... many of the songs on this tape were later re-done and put on "God Ween Satan". There is a lot of diversity album, with everything from sloppy hardcore punk, to tongue-in-cheek soft pop songs, bizarre spoken word bits, and other oddities. But yes, this tape marks the true beginning of Ween, and there's a whole bunch of songs (and non-songs) on here, so let's listen, shall we?

1. Introview
The tape starts off with an interview, complete with hilarious weird effects added to Dean and Gene's voices, as the interviewer asks himself about the "Satanic influences" that the holy god of Ween, the Boognish has on their music (it also likes to kill small animals). Ween explains the beginnings of Deaner and Gener's friendship in a school typing class and how this album is the result of their learnings from the Boognish recorded onto a tape. Let's observe what this divine inspiration brought them...

2. Talk To Me About Ericka Glabb
An extremely loud -- ear-shatteringly-loud -- piece featuring one of the Ween brothers screaming so loud that it drowns out all other sounds and emits creepy bass noises from the speakers. There is a little drumming in this track, but for the most part it is drowned out by the intense screaming.

3. Nippy Wiffle
The first musical-sounding track on the album. It's a one-chord mid-tempo tune with unintelligible monster-gibberish instead of lyrics. There's a guitar solo that resembles the tune to "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in the middle of the song.

4. Jelly (Part I)
A slower, blues-y song with Gene singing about putting jelly on toast.

5. Boobtalk
Another hilarious spoken bit. Dean and Gene talk in super-funny voices about the role that boobs (probably female ones at that) have in society. This bit serves as an intro to the next song.

6. Boobs (Part I)
A soft, tender song in which Gene gently sings about his love of boobs. The guitar quietly plays a beautiful melody in the background.

7. Boobs (Part II)
This is the second part of the "Boobs" song... Deaner (I think) sings this part in a screamy voice about... also loving boobs.

8. Go!
A very fast song in which Dean screams "GO!" to one chord acompanied by a single hit of a snare which repeats faster and faster until it just sounds like he's going "Guhuhguguggughgugugggghuhughggghuhugggghgugugugugugggggggoo!".

9. Stresstabs
A sloppy, messed up song where Gene goes off on a rant about being stressed out and "needing stresstabs" while a inconsistent beat and guitar riff are played.

10. Drinktalk
One of my personal favorite moments of the album. It's the intro for "I Drink A Lot". Deaner talks in another weird voice (it sounds like he's underwater or something like that) about a time that Gene (Aaron) got caught drinking by his dad one time. He goes on to admit that Ween "encourages kids to smoke crack and drink... a lot."

11. I Drink A Lot
A more straight-forward punk rock song about an apathetic person who gets drunk a lot and doesn't give a shit about much else.

12. Jessica
Deaner yells "JESSICA!" repeatedly to a rumbling beat and ominous humming noises made in the background. This one sounds like it was recorded in a cave during a cave-in or something.

13. Red As Satan
One of the few songs on the album that's over a minute and a half long! Begins with a fucked-up mish-mash of VOIP and WOIEERP noises. However, this is an acoustic love-ballad. It has a very nice melody, and Dean sings "nicely" here. Dean expresses his wish that his heart could be "as red as Satan" for the love of a girl. It's one of the more serious-sounding songs on the album, and it's a nice change from hearing the Weeners scream over a one-chord riff (not that that's not awesome either). This song is over four minutes long.

14. Murphy Flattens His Frustrations
Reminds me of Pissed Jeans. Mainly because of the voice. Noisy guitar noises and beat. More screaming and yelling.

15. Cowbell
A person imitating a cow mooing can be heard in the background. A wispy voice chants about a cowbell, crushed organs, and splattering blood in the wind.

16. Ingrown Mayo
An ultra-fast song with Gene screaming a bunch of gibberish.

17. Duke of Denim
A slower song. Dean sings about "the Duke of Denim", a loser-ish fellow who threw a Halloween party that nobody went to!

18. Blow It Out Your Ass
More thrash and random guitar-playing. Screaming and fart noises. YAY!

19. You Fucked Up
The earliest incarnation of this classic anthem. It eventually even was recorded for "God Ween Satan". The line "YOU FUCKING NAZI WHORE" still kills me to this day. Gene screams his anger at some random bitch who "FUCKED UP", evidently. Guitar solo about 2/3 through the song! Fast verse and slow chorus. Great riff.

20. Talkthing
Another mock-interview. I can't really make out what they're saying at some points. At one part, Dean is asked what his favorite food is. The echoes made by the wisping voices float around like dust in a spotlight in the dark if you pay enough attention.

21. I Drink A Lot (Nice Version)
A soft, "nice" version of I Drink A Lot. No guitar chords used here, just one-string notes.

22. Hey Bullfrog
A slow, heavy-metal type song. Gene sings in an southern accent. It's pretty groovy, I'd say.

23. Smash My Head
This one sounds like it was recorded live and improvised. It's pretty horrible, but in a good way. You can hear some guy screaming in the background at one part of the song. Whether it's Gener or an audience member, I'm not sure.

24. (You) Piss Me Off
A fast song. Deaner sings really fast about a guy who pissed him off that he wants to kill.

25. Justalking
A stoned Dean and Gene Ween talk in weird voices about shit that I can't even understand due to the effects they used for this bit. It sounds funny and slightly creepy simultaneously.

26. Blue Hair
There's a little tape-manipulation done at the beginning. A slow song with no guitar and Deaner quietly moping about how everything has blue hair. The song fades out.

27. Sweetness
The first part is made up of fast acoustic guitar-playing and some wild harmonica and fast gibberish-speaking. In the middle, everything slows down and gets more quiet. Then the third part is more like the first part. Very weird.

28. The Refrigerator That Wouldn't Close
This song was also recorded live. "Lean Cusine Ween", heh heh. Dean refers to this song as a "sixteenth century ballad", despite that there were no refrigerators in the 16th century (pretty sure, at least). Gene sings in a funny accent. Before Ween get to play the theme song from "Fat Albert", the song fades out.

29. Mindfuck
The Ween bros. mumble and groan, and then scream along with a wild-ass random thrash through the guitar. MINDFUCK!

30. Livetalk
HAHAHAH! MORE FUNNY VOICES! In this part, Ween advertises the splendor and excitement of their live shows, recommending that people come to their concerts to see them dress up in funny outfits, imitate 1970s rock bands, and have a fun time (and talk too much). However, they also claim that they "make everybody go home with a headache". Very funny. If you talk in this voice about wearing a chef's hat on stage, you have just said something very funny.

31. Boognish
A more "normal" song that sings praises to the Boognish. Once again, the riff uses only one chord, but you don't really notice due to Ween's sheer genius.

32. Boobs (Part III)
Return of the Boob Songs! A slow metal song with Gene sings about wanting to suck, fondle, and touch boobs. Excellent noisy bit at the very end.

33. Yolk
A loud, noisy song with more screaming.

34. Shnagenhausen
A very fast song recorded live featuring Ween and various audience members screaming "SHNAGENHAUSEN!" and speaking in gibberish. This sounds like it would have been a fun show to be at.

35. We See Ween Bean
Another live song. Very loud, fast, and noisy. "We See Ween Bean" is the sole lyric of this track. It actually goes on for quite a bit, though. An energetic and fun song.

36. Everyone's a Lesbian
Gene and Ween sing about how everybody's a lesbian, and how they enjoy watching lesbians have sex.

37. Yeah, Sure
Wait a second... that "girl in the audience" isn't a girl... that's Dean Ween before his voice changed! Some of these cuts extend back into when Deaner's voice didn't even change yet. That's just weird, now. Probably one of the first bands I've heard that started so young that their first recordings feature a member before his voice even changed! "YEAH, SURE". Rolling drums.

38. Oik
A song about a person named "oik" with a slow beat.

39. Jelly (Part II)
The other part of Jelly. Slow. The guitar is sloppy and improvised.

40. Outroview
This is the "outro". Dean talks in a funny voice like a mental retard and basically just goofs off. It's actually really funny in some parts. He screams so loud his voice cracks. Dean continues to thank the listener for listening to the album. The band just sort of hangs around there, and eventually Deaner SCREAMS HIS FUCKING HEAD OFF repeatedly and makes funny breathing-in noises, in an amusing attempt to get the listener to turn off the tape already! No thanks, Ween. I'm too busy listening to DEAN SCREAM!! How can these screamo pussies think they're badasses when Ween clearly outdoes them in every way?

So, that's the end of the first musical output of Ween. However, at this point they were far from greatness. Many of the songs use only one chord, and only a few use song structures that go beyond that ("Red As Satan", "I Drink A Lot"...). Most of the songs are a minute long or less. Some of them are just simple drumbeats and screaming. However, the funny jokes and gags make it all worthwhile. To be completely honest, some of the songs here seem to have required little to no thought to write. ANY teenage kid with a microphone, a guitar, some pot, and an hour to record an album would probably come up with something like this. But it works. This album is mediocre and the Ween bros. know it, so it presents itself as an enormous toilet joke, representing everything we high school kids find hilarious, whether we admit it or not. Funny voices, spontaneous screaming, complete improvisation, mediocre songwriting... it's all good in its own way. Of course, by the early '90s, Ween would become a band that was actually extremely talented at writing great songs, but the spirit of the incarnation of Ween in this album never quite left them.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Red As Satan
2. Outroview
3. We Seen Ween Bean

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review #132: Sourpuss Los Angeles - I Don't Care (2010)


Year: 2010
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Post-Punk, Hardcore
Label: Peepshow Records
Tracks: 9
Length: 26 Minutes
Style: Emotional/Dark
My Rating: 7/8

Sourpuss was a punk band from Los Angeles that around the late '90s and early '00s (no, not the 1900s). The band consisted of Valentina Knox (vocals and bass), Melissa Knox (guitar), and Leo Bocci (drums). The band played shows around Los Angeles for several years, recorded a demo (which was given out at these shows), and disbanded not too long afterwards. Well, some time passed, and because there was a band in the mid-'90s ALSO called "Sourpuss", which played a similar style of music and was fronted by a young Brody Dalle (her last name wasn't "Dalle" or "Armstrong" at this point, though), who later went on to form the Distillers (and now she performs in Spinnerette). Well, people eventually started posting up a bootleg of a fake "Sourpuss" album -- some of the tracks were from the Australian Sourpuss, and some of the tracks were from the Los Angeles Sourpuss. So, those of us who never saw either of those bands and knew relatively little about them went on thinking that this was all the same band. The Los Angeles Sourpuss finally showed up, proclaiming that they were a different band. They posted to the internet a bunch of other songs that we hadn't heard before -- they were awesome! Last month the band finally officially released what was their studio demo as an album. It's called "I Don't Care", and the band usually refers to itself as "Sourpuss Los Angeles" to distinguish themselves from the other bands called Sourpuss. Anyways, the songs here are really good, so now I shall review them. Sound good?

1. Anguish
The guitar here sounds awesome. In the verse it sounds cleaner and calmer, and it the chorus section it's more distorted and aggressive. Great harmonizing vocals (one of the best aspects of Sourpuss's music). There's a bridge-section with a guitar solo. The lyrics are about a girl who's pissed off and annoyed by a controlling and dickish boy. It's one of the faster songs on the album.

2. Holiday
One of my favorite songs on the album. It's fast and happy (to me, at least). The guitars and the riff are awesome and so are the vocals. Energetic and calm in all the right places. Unfortunately, it's way shorter than it should have been.

3. Pins & Needles
A slower song with a slight heavy metal edge. The chorus fucking rules. Here, Valentina's vocals are more aggressive and darker-sounding. In the part where she screams "DEADLINE PRESSURE", you can hear Melissa in the background going pitches up and down. I think the lyrics are supposed to be about heroin or something like that. A very cool song.

4. Regret
Similar tempo to the song before it, but not quite as heavy. There's a part in the chorus that Melissa gets to sing -- it's a nice touch of variety. There's a messy guitar solo in the bridge part of the song.

5. Last Party
Another one of my favorite songs. The verse is more relaxed and less abrasive. I just love the general vibe and feel from this one. Reminds me of staying up really late in the Summer and doing absolutely nothing of importance. The chorus is more noisy and angry, adding a darker edge to the song. The drums are making this little ching-a-ching-a-ching noise constantly throughout the song. It sounds cool.

6. I Don't Care
The title track! YAEY. This one's main melody places more emphasis on the bass guitar, but the other guitar's doing it's own things in the foreground. The tone of this one is pretty pessimistic (like the title suggests). The chorus section is pretty awesome, bringing forth the energy pent up from the quieter verse parts. The bridge section before the final chorus is the best part of the song -- it has the best riff.

7. Planet Gum
Uhh... Planet Gum. The Planet of Gum. Where everything is made of gum. Chewing gum, gum arabic, gum basin, just guess. As long as it has "gum" in the name it probably exists on Planet Gum. This is a short hardcore song. There's fast parts inter-spliced with slow parts.

8. Testosterone
This song's about testosterone and estrogen and shit like that. Apparently Valentina has plenty of estrogen. I would have never guessed that! You learn something every day, don't you? I don't know if this iz the obligatory love/sex-themed song or if it's just literally Valentina wanting to point out the fact that she has a lot of estrogen and the listener (regardless of gender) has testosterone. Kool. Anyways, it's a good song. I like the verse riff. The guitar sounds cool. Dirtier in the chorus.

9. Dark Circles
This one reminds me so much of the Melvins. In a good way. With the heavy, slow tempo and the quirky little breaks inbetween. It's a great song. The lyrics are once again probably about a person with a heroin addiction ("those big dark circles that you just can't hide..."). There's a faster, more upbeat part at the very end that is actually directly taken from a section of "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath! And now we're at the very end of the album. So now it's all over. The world of Sourpuss is all over. We finished the last track. NOOOOOO!!!!!!

Two of the band's influences are the Melvins and Hole. That's what Sourpuss reminds me of. A combination of the Melvins and Hole. Like, if you had Courtney Love singing for the Melvins in the early '90s, it would sound a lot like Sourpuss. Which is a compliment, by the way! Anyways, if this stuff sounds interesting to you, you can buy the CD from Amazon.com or iTunes. It's a real shame they didn't do more, though... this band had a potential to be great. I'll bet there was still a bunch of great music they could have made if they wanted. Maybe someday they will reform. Maybe not. I dunno. But anyways, at least they ended while they were still fresh. So, yes, I strongly recommend Sourpuss to the rock n' roll fan.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Holiday
2. Last Party
3. Pins & Needles

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Review #131: Reproach/A.N.S. Split (EP) (2008)


Year: 2008
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore, Thrash
Label: Still Holding On Records
Tracks: 11
Length: 11 Minutes
Style: Angry/Wild
My Rating: 6/8

Obviously, this is a split EP between Reproach and A.N.S. And it's a 7" vinyl. Wax. Know what I'm sayin'? I think you do. Both bands are hardcore punk groups with heavy metal influences and a love for skateboarding. A.N.S. formed in 1999 in Texas (U.S.A.), and Reproach formed in 2000 in Belgium. There are eight Reproach songs (all extremely fast and short) and three A.N.S. songs (slightly less fast and short).

1. Reproach - "You Deserve It"
Loud, angry vocals. The second half of the song is ultra-fast.

2. Reproach - "Skateboarding Saves"
Slow intro with an awesome metal-ish riff. Extreme blast-beats thrash about in the second part of the song. There's backing vocals, also.

3. Reproach - "The Fallout"
The first part is slow. The second part is extremely fast. The third part is slow.

4. Reproach - "Onward to Destruction"
Very fast parts and kinda fast parts. Really growly backing vocals. Durrrrhhh!

5. Reproach - "L.A.P.D. Can Suck It"
Shortest song on the 7"! Sweet Seventeen seconds long. Lightspeed mega-thrash beats and awesome slower bits inbetween.

6. Reproach - "Kicked in the Teeth"
Yet another fast song. Not much else I can think of to say that makes this track stand out.

7. Reproach - "Family Shooting"

8. Reproach - "Fuck Us All"
This song's about a person who probably wants the listener to fuck ALL OF US. EVERY ONE OF US. YEAH. GOOD GOIN', BUDDY. Anyways, that's the end of the Reproach side of the record.

9. A.N.S. - "Kooks Go Home"
Now for something fast, but with slightly more emphasis on musicality than speed. The first half of the song is instrumental. Slow, very cool, sort of ominous, and I like it. Midway through the song, things speed up, and the vocalist starts singing, sounding like a cross between Henry Rollins and the guy from J.F.A. A head-pumping beat, and excellent riffage. Even a few mini-solos in the background. The song changes again towards the end of the song to get even faster, and then, believe it or not, it continually gets speedier and speedier until we're at speeds rivaling the eight tracks before this song. But then things cool down and the song slows down. This is the longest song on the EP. And probably the best, also.

10. A.N.S. - "Locals Only"
I wonder if it's named after the J.F.A. EP of the same name... anyways, it starts off with a slow intro until the vocalist screams "LOCALS ONLY!!". Pretty much a typical hardcore song. A little mini solo here and there.

11. A.N.S. - "Dawn Patrol"
An instrumental track. Begins with the sounds of sea gulls and waves at the beach. And with that said, this song has a bit of a surf-y guitar sound to it. It's fast, too! In one part it gets extremely fast. But yeah, no singing here, so you can just enjoy the krazy franticity of the whole thing. There's a short heavy metal-type solo in one part. But yes, that iz the end.

"Kooks Go Home" is definitely the stand-out track, here. I personally prefer the A.N.S. songs over the Reproach songs -- they're excitingly fast, but eventually it gets quite same-y and grating. The best track of that side of the EP is probably "The L.A.P.D. Can Suck It". What you like best from this little 7", that'll be up for you to decide if you have listened to it. But if you want to listen to some extremely fast music today, go listen to this or something. Until next time!

Top 3 Favorites:

1. Kooks Go Home (A.N.S.)
2. Dawn Patrol (A.N.S.)
3. The L.A.P.D. Can Suck It (Reproach)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Review #130: MDC - Millions of Dead Cops (1982)


Year: 1982
Genre: Punk Rock
Rhythm Vicar Records
20 Minutes
My Rating:

MDC is a hardcore punk band from Austin, Texas, originally formed in 1979. The band's first release was a 7" single featuring a song of their called "John Wayne Was a Nazi". The band is notable for having a far-left position on politics, performing extremely fast music, and being one the notable hardcore punk bands to last into the 1990s without breaking up inbetween. Two years after "John Wayne Was a Nazi" was released, the band released their first LP, and it's called "Millions of Dead Cops". One might assume this was a self-titled album, but the band frequently changed around what their initials stood for, so it's hard to tell.

1. Business on Parade

Loud, very fast, and messy! The song is critical of the capitalist system in the U.S.A., where big businesses are unfortunately in the driver's seat and forcing the populace to buy their half-baked crap while keeping the class gap high. I'm not entirely closed to the concept of capitalism, but with the never-full bellies of the rich who seem to never have enough money to shove up their asses, it's yet another system which simply cannot work in this world. I like the drumming and vocals in the melt-down parts.

2. Dead Cops/America's So Straight

A two-in-one song, done in an interesting way. "Dead Cops" is a hyper-speed piece calling for the death of racist macho piggies everywhere! Sandwiched inbetween the two halves of "Dead Cops" is a slightly slower piece called "America's So Straight", describing the plight of a gay man in socially conservative America. After that ends, the song returns to the final verses and choruses of "Dead Cops".

3. Born to Die

This song contains the infamous chant, "No War, No KKK, No Fascist U.S.A.". The lyrics describe the empty lives of many people in the U.S.A. who feel backed into a corner by the government and society, feeling "born to die" and trapped in a cage to be slowly tortured for the sick pleasures of the people in power for as long as life goes on. This song is very fast.

4. Corporate Deathburger

The first song I ever heard from MDC. And I don't feel a single bit of hypocrisy in listening to this song because I haven't eaten anything from a McDonald's restaurant (if you wanna call it that) since I was 9 years old... eight years so far! But yeah, this song pretty much pisses on the fucked-up system known as McDonald's and really the vast majority of big corporate fast-food franchises for filling the American people with toxins, draining 3rd-world countries of resources, multinationalism, and the general basis on the trade being making money off of death itself. Very fast, great riff. One of the best songs on here.

5. Violent Rednecks

We've got plenty of these types of fucks where I live. A bunch of meat-headed, trigger-happy, ultra-conservative assholes who are just waiting for the day when it's legal to shoot anybody who looks at you funny. In the punk scene (especially the Texas scene that MDC is from), violent rednecks would go to shows just to beat up punk rockers. In the song, another redneck wants to rape a punk girl, but the band threatens to "ram a longneck up his butt". Very fast for the most part, and even faster at the end! One of the shortest songs on the album.

6. I Remember

The song begins with an intense, passionate anti-police rant, telling citizens to stand up against the police. The main part of the song is speedy but not too speedy. Nice riff. The song tells a first-person outlaw story about a person who's constantly on the run from the authorities, first escaping the country to avoid having to pay money to some government rapists, and he doesn't know if he'll ever find a safe place in the world. A lot of good insightful poetry here -- "They call this the land of the living, but they're trying to make a dead man out of me", "I remember all the stories I heard about how a man's supposed to be as free as a bird; my brother's in prison, my father's dead; me, I'm tired of living with a price on my head."

7. John Wayne Was a Nazi
The song starts out kinda slow and gets progressively faster. The song detests the famous cowboy actor, John Wayne as a symbol of violent white christian male supremacy, glorifying those who slaughtered and raped the Injuns, forcing them to conform to white values or die. Even though Dave criticizes John Wayne for hating "fags", rumor has it that John Wayne was a closet homosexual himself -- but aren't most queer-bashers that way, anyways? End of Side Uno.

8. Dick for Brains

I'm not completely sure what it's about -- whether it's a song about a man who feels persecuted by a controlling, cruel female lover who has "dick for brains" instead of a "clit for brains", or the theory that male-supremacists are secretly afraid of the idea of women in power. The beginning of the song is slow, but for the most part it's extremely speedy. Complete with a reference to the "golden shower".

9. I Hate Work

I personally think work is a necessary part of human life, but I do agree that the system really does over-work its people. And if you don't keep up with the super-tight demands of the system, you get punished. THAT fucking sucks. But yeah, I agree with most of the sentiments of the song -- working 9-to-5, fighting wars for the system (why doesn't the PRESIDENT just go fucking fight them?), and work low-wage jobs just to get by. I've seen so many kids go off to join the military just because there aren't really many other opportunities for my generation, and the government is taking advantage of this by bribing them with college and a job and stuff like that -- if they MAKE IT OUT ALIVE, that is! Not to mention the constant mental conditioning in our younger years that really annoyed me, making joining the military and killing look cool through video games (the most famous video games right now are mostly military-themed), and violent macho action movies (some of them are even really racist), revving up kids to look to partaking in war as a "correct" decision to make when they get old enough. Fuck that. Fight your own damn war.

10. My Family is a Little Weird
This song describes the life of a kid who grows up with gay parents, gender identity issues, and mentally crazy relatives! "Grandma sells dope to the high school kids" -- hee hee!

11. Greedy & Pathetic
This song is very fast and speaks up against the rich who manipulate the costs of everything to fit their selfish desires. However, many people in the underclasses see through their lies and deception. That's what this song is mainly about. Was that last statement redundant or what? Was that one, too?

12. Church & State
Once again, MDC taking on an issue that is still very relevant after almost 30 years! Especially after what just happened in Texas with the local schools revamping their curriculum to be suited to a far-right slant. But it happens all over the country, especially in rural areas. Obey the Christian faith only, go to war, fight for your land (what?), etc. Basically the false "patriotic" ethic that kinda contradicts the whole freedom thing that these very people claim to espouse. Shortest song on the album.

13. Kill the Light

Ultra fast! I dunno how they all keep up with eachother! It's crazy. This song is sung from the viewpoint of the system, leeching off of the common man to stay alive in its demonic existence, forcing people to live "half in their graves", in the sick society of cancer, puke, piss, hate, fear, poison, and confusion.

14. American Acheivements

There's a lot of gray shit in this song. Similar riff to "Corporate Deathburger". The song is about feeling entrapped by the system within the gray world that the still-unseen master figure has built up for us all to slave through. This song is very unique-sounding, plenty of minute solos and rhythm shifts -- those things work well in hardcore. The last line reminds the listener that "there's no god in heaven, so get off your knees."

The main theme of the album is the feeling from the poor and middle class that they are being pretty much fucked around by the rich in every way, living their lives in fear and desperation, being mercilessly manipulated, be it through money, health, or the mind -- being kept to stay down low "like they deserve it". Anyways, if everyone was liberated there WOULD be no power, RIGHT? Anyways, the hardcore punk style here is very fast, and if that doesn't entertain you, you should at least be able to appreciate its very relevant and intelligent lyrics. It stimulates the brain. But yeah, it's a pretty good album. DSDSFGDFGDFGDF

Top 3 Favorites:

1. Corporate Deathburger
2. Business on Parade
3. Violent Rednecks

Friday, June 18, 2010

Review #129: Some Say It's Genetic (2009)


Year: 2009
Genre: Punk Rock, Ambient Rock, Folk Rock
Sub-Genres: Post-Punk, Noise
Label: Wrong Island
41 Minutes
My Rating:

"Some Say It's Genetic" is a split album from the bands Grrrl Friend and HYMS. Grrrl Friend is a punk/folk/blahblah group from Portland Oregon that's been up and at it for almost four years, and HYMS is a one-man ambient guitar-based band that has a very unique sound. Last year they (in typical Wrong Island Records fashion) both put together this free split album, and because it's free you can download all the songs off of the bands' Last.fm pages. There are nine songs in total -- seven Grrrl Friend tracks (which would make a pretty good album alone) and two HYMS tracks (which are both very lengthy). It's interesting hearing the combination of these two different types of music, but there is a certain spirit that the two bands seem to share which can be noted just by listening to the songs. And I don't even know what it is. I'm just saying shit, probably to make this review go longer or something... might as well not bullshit you here: YADDA YADDA YDAAA GABLAH BLAHBLAH BLIBBER BLABBER GERBER BABY FOOD DUUUUUUUUHHHHH DUUURRHHHH YIP YIP YAP YAPPETY-YAP! Well, this was the first album that I ever heard Grrrl Friend on, so I instantly fell in love with the band after listening to these songs, and then I feel even more in love with the band after hearing their other songs.

1. Grrrl Friend - "The Hat Was Too Tall"
Starts with a weird electrical hum for a few seconds. Various noises are made, such as a clippet from a news broadcast, weird beeping sounds, guitar sounds, drums, and even some keyboard tunes, it sounds like. Eventually, all of this stuff starts to pick up a more steady rhythm and melody, only to fall back down into the pit of chaos it arose from. The noise all abruptly stops to be replaced by only a soft acoustic guitar tune, some soft "oooh-oooh" singing in the background, and Duffy's softer singing voice. This section of the song shows off their more folk-oriented side.

2. Grrrl Friend - "Roadside Picnic"
This is a harder, more straightforward song, but it's a very upbeat one. Judging by the lyrics, it's pretty much a love song! The sludgy but happy guitar riff and the cheesy but fitting keyboard tune that accompanies it make this song one of the fucking best songs of the whole album. Makes me think of a big ice cream truck or something. They could have the "OFFICIAL DUFFY WRONG ISLAND ICE CREAM TRUCK" and just play the little keyboard tune on it over and over. That would be the best. This song makes me wanna just go be happy all day and go to the ice cream place and then have a fucking picnic and run around and go to the lake and stuff. Yeah, it's a good song. This one also features their then-current female co-vocalist, Ree Ree (if that's her real name, I don't know) singing alongside Duffy. The keyboard in the chorus section sounds like a police siren or something. At the end of the song, there's a fast hardcore section with a bunch of weird sound effects in the background.

3. Grrrl Friend - "Bestiality BBQ"
Heh! "Bestiality BBQ: where we fuck the animals before we cook 'em!" Hehehe! But anyways, this is sort of a country/bluegrass-sounding song with lyrics singing about typical hillbillies in the rural U.S.. Duffy sings in a fake southern accent in some parts. It's not very long. There's a quiet synth melody in the background.

4. Grrrl Friend - "Ouch!"
Another one of my favorites, here. Starts with just guitar and vocals. It's very soothing and uplifting. It's almost like the soundtrack to getting stoned in the summer. "TV controls the world, it's hard to cope" -- a sad but true lyric. In the second verse, the drums and the other cool weird sounds come into the mix. The chorus is very aggressive and chaotic, contrasting from the relaxed verse sections. If I knew all of the lyrics to this song, I could say more. Musically, it feels equivalent to watching yourself skip through the park in slow motion in Super-8 or something like that. What a beautiful song. After the second chorus, there is an outro section which consists of nothing but a repeated melody being played on an acoustic guitar.

5. Grrrl Friend - "The Slope"
The first half of this song is mostly noise. Weird noises in the background and a lot of drumming from Tambo. Once that all ends, we get a melody driven by an acoustic rhythm guitar, some psychedelic atmospherics, and drums and singing and stuff. This song is a bit sadder than the rest of the songs on here, but in a good way. It's very emotional and kind of watery-sounding. This song reminds me of being in the water or underwater or something like that.

6. Grrrl Friend - "I Think of Demons"
This one's a cover of a song by Roky Erickson. Once you've gotten out of the water and dried off, you can walk away listening to this one. It's a lot more straightforward than the other songs here... because it's a cover. It's a pretty catchy, nice song. It's about demons and stuff. Good guitar riff.

7. Grrrl Friend - "Toole & I"
The last Grrrl Friend track on the album. It's a mid-tempo punk song about loneliness, I think. The guitar here sounds really really good. I like the chorus riff a lot. This was one of the first Grrrl Friend songs I ever heard, and I loved it even on the first listen! This song makes me think of all the late nights I've spent alone and stuff. It's one of the more normal-sounding songs on the album, but even with that in mind it's a great pop song!

8. HYMS - "Rockrose (Dawn Breaking)"
And now that the Grrrl Friend half is over, let's listen to this other band. HYMS. HYMS is an oddity, but in a good way. So now I'm going to listen to this song... it starts out with a repeated one-string guitar line which is repeated over and over in the song as other guitar sounds come and go and harmonize with the melody. That line is dropped about 1/3 throughout the song, as the melody changes a bit but never really goes of course. Some of the tonage midway through the song sound really nice. Then at one point this is all covered in a thick layer of electric sludge-distortion. Actually kind of similar to a style of music I sort of created myself in the form of a lot of the songs on my White Noize Summer 2010 Demo. There's never any vocals. Just guitars. It's peaceful, but if you're looking for a song that you can dance to or sing along to or something like that, this might not interest you that much. The electric distortion fades out completely by the end of the song, only leaving the fluttering of two electric leads fluttering away like butterflies.

9. HYMS - "Cedar Falls"
This song is almost twice as long as the song before it and it's the longest track on the whole album (over 11 minutes long!). Once again, nothing but guitars harmonizing with eachother to create a sort of vibe... I'll bet when you die this is the music you hear. It's sort of happy, and sort of sad. It's almost a blank slate in some ways in that the music isn't really inherently anything except for what it is in the mind of the listener. Each guitar sounds like a different animal in a jungle of sound. Some of them sound creepy, and some of them sound not-creepy. It reminds you of life and death simultaneously. The song ends when the music fades out. Because there isn't any after that. Because now you're dead, remember?

Anyways, yes, a very interesting mixture. You've got the fiery folk-punk of Grrrl Friend and the wispy droning of HYMS. Pick yer poison. I believe HYMS does have at least one of its own full-length albums (released on Wrong Island)... they might have more. I haven't really checked right now. I'll probably review that album in the near future, y'know? And as for Grrrl Friend, they need to make another fucking record! I love those guys! So yeah, I'd say the Grrrl Friend half is definitely better, but that doesn't mean the HYMS half sucked. For some reasons all of these songs just make me really happy and remind me of Kizer Lake and St. Paris for some reason. I don't know why. But they do. This isn't even my favorite album or anything! But it just gets you in that good mood, y'know? So anyways, yeah, go to the Wrong Island Records Last.fm page and download this album if you're a fan of Grrrl Friend or if this just sounds interesting from reading it. You'll get the bang for your... download.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Roadside Picnic (Grrrl Friend)
2. Ouch! (Grrrl Friend)
3. Toole & I (Grrrl Friend)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review #128: White Album - Demo (EP) (2009)


Year: 2009
Genre: Punk Rock
Post-Punk, Noise
12 Minutes
My Rating:

It's been awhile since I've written a new review... well, I'd been having some "problems" last week... Anyways, here iz yet another good band beginning with the word "White"... kinda like how there's a lot of good bands with the word "Black" in their names. Well, this iz a special little review, because this iz the second review of a local band I've ever done! That's, right, they're from fucking Ohio. I have not seen them live, but I would really like to. I don't even know what their show dates are. But anyways, I don't even know if they've released anything or if these tracks are a part of some ultra-obscure unknown LP that they've made, but for now, I just call it a fucking demo.

This music is GOOD. One of the best new things I've heard in awhile; it ranks up there with bands like Grrrl Friend in terms of being actually fun to listen to and originality. At some points I feel like I'm listening to a psychedelic version of Flipper. The music is very analog and warm-sounding, so there's none of that ear-fatigue shit you get with a lot of new music. Anyways, time to listen to the songs...

1. Patriot Dames
This is a sort of fast song. The bass guitar is very prominent, almost like slap-bass or something like that. The lead singer has a sort of deadpan-but-super-cool singing voice. I'm still loving this great bassline. Then after the second chorus there's a neat solo. There's always that layer of total chaos going on in the other ear, as well.

2. Simple Food and Drink
Definitely the best song by this group that I've ever heard. The song starts with a brief, quiet guitar melody which is abruptly stopped by a new bass riff and the drum beat. The rhythm guitar comes in, making a really beautiful, airy noise which sounds really fucking great. Turns out the melody in the very beginning of the second was a fragment of the verse riff. Now we hear the verse, which is happier-sounding and more upbeat. The vocals are kind of muffled by the rest of the instruments, but that adds to the effect. The chorus section is slightly more noisy and aggressive than the verse. After two verses and choruses, the song returns to the melody in the earlier part of the song, with a complete anarchy of guitar solos, and the tempo is faster this time. Then back to the verse and chorus and shit like that. What a song.

3. Bad Control
Starts with a few quiet clippets of various people (probably band members) talking. LOUUD FEEDBACK NOIZES... then we get an ultra-catchy bass guitar riff guiding the melody while the rhythm guitar also carries a melody but it's much more abrasive. The singer sounds a little like Kurt Cobain, here. The bass is fucking great in all parts. I really wish there was a way to download or get an album with these songs on it. 'nother guitar solo in the middle. The cymbals constantly crash.

So, that's "White Album". All of these songs can be heard from their MySpace. There is one other song on there called "Diabetes", but it is a boom-box demo rather than a studio demo, so I decided not to include it. I usually don't do a "top 3" for releases with less than six songs, but if I had to put these songs in order from favorite to least favorite regarding this, I would say it goes: Simple Food and Drink, Bad Control, Patriot Dames. But damn, this really is a good band. I listen to this music and a part of my mind has a little trouble believing that this was all made in the same state that I live in. "California" is always the first thing that comes to mind when I hear this music. But nope. Ohio. So yeah, go check out their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/sewerwave) and give them support and maybe try to pester them to play more shows and record more shit that we can listen to. And that they need to play all-ages venues so I can come too. Yeah. Well, thanks for reading my review, and may the force be with you. Always.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Review #127: Rejectors - Thoughts of War (EP) (1982)


Year: 1982
Genre: Punk Rock
Fartz Records
7 Minutes
My Rating:

The Rejectors were an early '80s hardcore band from Seattle, Washington (future home of 'grunge' music!). As far as I know, they probably only lasted a few years before disbanding (the last thing they ever did was released on some 1984 compilation which also featured the Melvins, Beat Happening, and many other bands). This is the band's first release, and it's a nine-song 7" EP, released in 1982 by "Fartz Records" (probably having something to do with the Seattle band called the Fartz).

1. High Command

A very fast, crashing song about United States citizens being commanded by the government (under Ronald Reagan) to go to war. Packed with energy.

2. Rejection

Really great riff. The guitar sounds great, and so does the drumming. Can't find the lyrics to the song, so I dunno what it's about. The instrumental repeat of the verse riff near the end sounds great to me, for some reason.

3. Mercy Killers

Once again, very fast tempo. The guitars seem tuned in a way that provides unique, up-beat sounding chords.

4. Fight Establishment

My guess is that this song's about, well, "fighting establishment". However, I could be completely fucking wrong. Great verse riff. Group shouts in the chorus. End of Side 1.

5. Thoughts of War
Begins with a slow intro. The main sections of the song are very fast. The chorus pounds and crashes, while the verse flies and thrashes.

6. Life With Liberty

Shortest song on the EP. Very fast.

7. Slaves
The real stand-out for this track is the drumming. It's somewhat sloppy, but amusing at the same time. Guess what? This song is fucking FAST! WHOOPEDY-DOOP!!! HEE HEE HAWWW.

8. How Do You Know

Geez, here's a "long song" -- IT'S A WHOLE FUCKING MINUTE LONG. WOWWWWWWWEEEY. The riff is as frantic as the pace of the music. Hell, there's even a little guitar solo in here.

9. Go Die


A year after this EP came out, in 1983, the band recorded a split-LP with the Seattle punk-metal band, the Acc
├╝sed. The band likely broke up circa 1984 or 1985. The band claims that they were a minor influence on the grunge and post-punk music that would come out of Seattle shortly after they disbanded. But yes, if you're looking for a short, enjoyable hardcore EP to listen to, this would be a good one to listen to.

Top 3 Favorites:
1. Rejection
2. Fight Establishment
3. Go Die

Friday, June 4, 2010

Review #126: White Flag - S is For Space (1982)


Year: 1982
Genre: Punk Rock
Hardcore, Pop-Punk
Gasatanka Records
14 Minutes
My Rating:

White Flag is a punk band that formed in 1982 in California. The band remains active since, and they have released over twenty different albums, including an LP with 3 sides! I'm presuming the band's name and logo are a parody of Black Flag, but if you listen to these guys, they sound more influenced by the Germs that anything else, which is very evident from this album alone. The group was even formed by Pat Fear, whose name is an obvious parody of Pat Smear... there were even members in the original line-up with names such as Al Bum and Pick Z. Stix. The band actually recorded an album before this called "R is For Rocket", but it did not see the light of release until 2003. So this iz the first White Flag album to be released, and also the first record to be released through the band's label, Gasatanka Records.

1. Not All Right

Starts with a sound-clippet of either White Flag or the Germs being interviewed. I think it's the Germs... I've never heard White Flag talk; in fact, I'd never heard a White Flag song outside the "Party Or Go Home" compilation or the Germs tribute album until YESTERDAY. SO I DON'T EVEN FUCKING KNOW!!! AGHHH. Anyways, as you may have guessed, this is a cover of a song by the Germs. It's a pretty good cover, but of course, nothing beats the original.

2. Go to God

Now, for a REAL White Flag song. The song is fast. Midway through the song, there guitar solo.

3. White Flag

Starts out mid-tempo and then becomes even faster than the songs before it. This song makes fun of people who "go church, go to school, and have respect Ronald Reagan", accusing them of "raising a white flag." Very catchy in some parts. I guess this is sort of the band's theme song.

4. Joy Chip

Many of the songs on here are pretty short, but this song is REALLY short, it's only eleven seconds long! I can't even tell what the hell they're singing about here, but it's a very fast short song, so I know that. What IS a "joy chip", anyways?

5. Mirror Mirror

This is a slow song. It criticizes "posers" in the scene who all try to look the same and just try to fight all of the time. The chorus is a bit faster. One of the best songs on the album -- at the end of the song, Pat asks: "IF GOD WROTE YOU A LETTER WOULD YOU READ IT??"

6. Suzy Secret

This song starts with about a minute of stage banter recorded from a live concert. Then the song begins. A lot of backing vocals saying "secret" a shit-ton. Another noodly-needly guitar solo here. End of Side 1.

7. Hell In a Handbag

Begins with the exact same intro as the song "Manimal" by the Germs. The song then segues into the main parts of the song, which are very fast. The song seems to sing about pressures from society and religion to conform to their image of what they want you to be, but I'm not completely sure 'CUZ I AIN'T GAWTZ NOPE LYRIK SHEETZ, MANG.

8. Cleocin

My favorite song on the album! It's really catchy, especially in the chorus section. Gotta love the messy group-shout of "CLEOCIN!" with the Darby Crash-sounding Pat Fear and then the cleaner-sounding backing vocals. In the verse section, he sings in this weird fake British accent with a slight humorous inflection. Once again, the song seems to be poking fun at organized religion. The only song on here longer than two minutes.

9. Video.D.

"Look! You grew a new one!" - "Almost". That's the dialogue that opens this song. The song's about videos... and stuff. I think I dunno. I think the phrase "VideO.D." is supposed to be some sort of pun on "O.D." or something funny like that. This song's okay, but there are better ones on the album.

10. Cheze

Like, as in "cheese"? This is a very short, upbeat pop-punk song with a nice melody to it. However, it could've been longer.

11. Gumby

I used to be obsessed Gumby when I was a little kid. The song is fast, and there's a weird-ass slow mid-section. The song seems to portray some brain-dead psycho-botic clone army lead by emperor Ronald Reagan (born again with fascist cravings). The mid-section has a weird guitar solo and is very trippy and blurry n' stuff.

12. R n' R

The shortest song on the whole album. After some thumping bass-drums, the song is one-second long. But it makes its mark, I suppose.

Well, that's White Flag's first album. It's pretty good. After this, the band has released many, many more albums, several of which also elaborate on the whole alphabet theme, such as "R is for Rocket", and "R is for Rad". R and R. R n' R. Like that song I was just talking about. The last song. Anyways, yes, it's a pretty entertaining, light-hearted hardcore album with a bit of a pop-punk tinge as well. I have not listened to any of their other albums, so I will do so in the future. We'll do this together! Like a team! YAEY...

Top 3 Favorites:

1. Cleocin
2. Mirror Mirror
3. White Flag

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review #125: Minor Threat - In My Eyes (EP) (1981)


Year: 1981
Genre: Punk Rock
Dischord Records
7 Minutes
My Rating:

Minor Threat is one of the world's most famous hardcore punk bands and in the early '80s was considered the flagship band of the D.C. punk scene. After releasing their famous debut EP, "Minor Threat", later that year in 1981, they released a second EP with four songs entitled "In My Eyes".

1. In My Eyes
The tempo starts slow and then shifts to a speedier beat which collapses into noise. Then the first verse begins. The beat is pretty slow. The chorus is very fast, in typical Minor Threat fashion. The song puts down kids who do nothing but drink, get high, and have promiscuous sex. I for one don't think those things are ALWAYS bad, but Ian dislikes them, so I'll let him, heheh. However, I do agree that these things shouldn't be used as an excuse to be lazy, which is another point the song conveys.

2. Out of Step (With the World)
This is an earlier, dirtier version of the song that would later be on the band's "Out of Step" LP from 1983. It's a hyper-fast song that never takes breaks, with complete ferocity. Once again, it sings about Ian's reasons for living his Straight-Edge lifestyle. End of Side 1.

3. Guilt of Being White
This song's about how when Ian was in high school that he was often bullied by many of the black students for being white "for something I didn't do." Some early listeners mistook the song for being a racist song (similar to "White Minority" by Black Flag before it), but really it's just a song that shows that racism from all sides is always wrong.

4. Steppin' Stone
This iz a Monkees cover. And it's extremely catchy, at that. The song starts out in very low quality, almost as if it was being played on a radio, but then the bassier elements of the song come in and fill its consistency out. This song's about a guy who dates a poor girl who uses him as a "stepping stone", and before he knows it, she's become a glammed-up arrogant prick who's been "walking around like she's front page news". This one's just more of a fun song.

So, that's "In My Eyes". The second EP released in the same year. After this, the band recorded two songs for the "Flex Your Head" compilation in 1982 which featured Minor Threat and the Teen Idles among other various D.C. punk bands. In early 1983, they released their main LP, "Out of Step", which I have already reviewed (and the first EP). The band broke up later on that year, but they released another 3-song 7" in 1985. Eventually all of the Minor Threat songs were released together on one CD/LP in 1989. So yes, more good punk rock. You should listen to it, be it on the original 7" or on the CD with all of the Minor Threat you need. sdfjdsgfdgdfhghgfhfgl;f BYE BYE

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review #124: Suicidal Tendencies - Suicidal Tendencies (1983)


Year: 1983
Genre: Punk Rock
Frontier Records
28 Minutes
My Rating:

Suicidal Tendencies is a hardcore punk/heavy metal band from southern California that formed in 1981. Originally voted "WORST NEW BAND" by Flipside magazine, the band mainly played shows at various house parties around their area, and early on were supposedly notorious for gang violence allegedly interspersed into the crowds. The singer, who is now known as Cyco Miko was at this point known as "Suicidal Mike". The band was not extremely popular, but that changed when the group released their first album.

It was called "Suicidal Tendencies" (creative, huh?), and it quickly earned the band fame, mainly because they made a music video for their most famous song, "Institutionalized", which was one of the first (but not THE first) hardcore music videos to be featured on MTV regularly. This album has more of a plain hardcore sound, rather than the thrash/metal/funk style they would mainly espouse later on. The themes in the album are pretty typical for an early '80s punk record, such as hating Ronald Reagan, wanting to commit suicide, and hating your parents, but they're written in a way that does sound sincere.

1. Suicide's An Alternative/You'll Be Sorry

Begins with Mike cackling and screaming, as lots of ominous and destructive sounds are evoked from the band's instruments. Whaddaya know, it's another fast one-two'er... Mike shouts a line like "SICK OF CHICKS, SICK OF LIFE, etc.", and Louiche (the bassist) shouts back in the other ear the reason that he's sick of things. Basically, Mike's fucking sick of things. A lot of things that I'm sick of, also. "Sick of music -- top 40 sucks"... see, it always has! Hahah. Now for "You'll Be Sorry" -- the song slows down and Mike "tells a little story".

2. Two Sided Politics

"I'm not anti-society, society's anti-me; I'm not anti-religion, religion's anti-me; I'm not anti-everything, I just wanna be free!" This song has a fucking great beat. A great fuck-off to the paranoid suburban parents of the '80s (and now).

3. I Shot the Devil

Of course, the devil here is none other than Ronald Reagan. Starts with a slow intro, and then a very fast verse and chorus. Not only does he shoot Reagan, but also Sadat, John Lennon, and the Pope! And for their grand prize, instead of burning in Hell, they get to "rot in Heaven" because "you're forgiven in Hell." Mike laughs like a psycho (or should I say Cyco?) more.

4. Subliminal

There are slight heavy metal elements to this song. The verse is slow and the chorus is fast. This song's about how Mike thinks that he's been receiving subliminal messages from the government through his television set. Who knows, maybe we all are? I like the interaction between Mike's vocals and Louiche's vocals during the chorus section.

5. Won't Fall in Love Today

FAST! AWESOME RIFF! Mike sings about how even though he likes a girl that he "won't fall in love today". It's pretty short.

6. Institutionalized

The band's most famous song. Slow verse, fast chorus. The lines in the verse sections are spoken, but in the lines in the chorus are chanted. The song is based around a story about a kid arguing with his parents who think he's going insane because he doesn't act quite 'normal', so they go nuts themselves and throw him in a mental institution. Who's crazy again? Anyways, the verse section slowly builds up and becomes faster and more rage-y, until it's ready to escalate into the thrashy, aggressive chorus! The line "all I wanted was a Pepsi" is still famous as hell after nearly 30 years. The music video for this song is very funny and should be watched at least once be everyone. "I WENT TO YOUR SCHOOLS, I WENT YOUR CHURCHES, I WENT TO YOUR INSTITUTIONAL LEARNING FACILITIES, SO HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT I'M CRAZY??!!"... End of Side 1, kidz.

7. Memories of Tomorrow


8. Possessed

Funky lead-guitar melody in the verse part. This song's about going crazy and thinking you're possessed by demons because you can't stop feeling pain.

9. I Saw Your Mommy

The verse iz slow, and the chorus is fast. I really like the verse riff. The lyrics are a semi-humorous story about a kid who paid another person to kill his own mother, when Mike finds her dead body turning up in the middle of the streets. "I took a picture 'cause I thought it looked neat". Longest song on the album.

10. Fascist Pig

The intro riff borders on speed-metal. This song's a satire on fucking riot cops who beat the shit out of anyone who stands in their/the government's way. They're just a bunch of violent mental hicks who want an excuse to be thugs but too pussyish to risk government persecution. WHAT FUN! "They'll beat your brains until they spill: that's the fascist's favorite meal!"

11. I Want More

For the first time in recorded history, we hear Mike's softer "singing voice". In the slow intro, he sings about how he feels that life could be better than it is. Then he rises up into the fast main section of the song. It may sound selfish, but these are lyrics I find truth in: why should we all slave away at fucking meaningless jobs for corporations just to get by in life? I WANT MORE. I REALLY DO.

12. Suicidal Failure

This song's a slow downer of a song about a 19-year-old kid who's so bored of his mediocre way of life that he wants to die -- he keeps trying, but he just can't seem to succeed. Is he meant to live or die? That is what is not quite answered, but it seems that Mike just wants to die. To be honest, sometimes I've felt the same, but there are things I still have not done that keep me going... but I don't know if I ever will be able to.

Yeah, so the band's name and the album's name both come from a single line in the final song. Cool, eh? I dunno. It's a good album, though, and it is now considered a hardcore punk classic by most. In some ways it completely embodies the spirit of early '80s suburban west-coast punk -- you'll hear tales of fear, violence, suicide, anger, fury, and insanity. Many times I wish life could be more exciting like that. Computers and adult society have torn us all apart in many ways. A new scene run by outcasts, for outcasts, with danger, anger, fun, recklessness... nobody seems to care about those things anymore. Or they think it's all unrealistic or childish. Makes me mad, sometimes. Well, yes, it's a good album by a good band. Their later work would become more heavy metal-oriented, and by the early '90s there were a lot of funk elements as well (Mike eventually started a new side band called Infectious Grooves which mainly played funk-metal). So yeah, check it out if you're interested. But now, I must be going, so drink your Pepsi and have a nice day!

Top 3 Favorites:

1. Subliminal
2. Two-Sided Politics
3. I Saw Your Mommy