Thursday, November 6, 2014


Bearmace – Cold Ones 7” (Zaxxon Records)
Yeeooww this is some blistering hardcore coming outta this Montreal foursome. I don’t regularly listen to this type of stuff, just because it reminds me of total macho tough guy posing. But Conor, the vocalist, sounds more like someone that’s fallen down a deep well late at night in the middle of a densely wooded area and just realized there is someone (or something) already down there with him. Another thing I dislike about hardcore is how political issues get shoved down your throat until you gag and throw the disc across the room. Not here though, apparently the bands motto is “believe in nothing”.  This I can handle, getting preached to, no thanks! 
 ~ J Castro

Autonomes – 2 x 7”  – (Punkhouse Records)
Autonomes, like many other would-have-never-been-released before bands, have been given a second chance thanks to Punkhouse. Punkhouse’s mission is to release many forgotten bands from Swansea, England and Autonomes are one such band. These two 7-inches cover the band’s output form 1978-1980. Autonomes early material sounds in more of an Adverts vein as opposed to some of the later songs like “Enchanted” that, reminds me of mid-period Damned especially the vocals. – Ed Stuart

Sick Thoughts – S/T 7” (Zaxxon Records)
This Baltimore, MD band tear it up hard with some seriously savage rock n’ roll guitar hooks, punishing drum poundings and some goblin style, tonsil ripping vocals. This record immediately erects a tall wall of lo-fi noise that only lets ferocity through. Four songs full of teenage sex, hate and deception, four songs that could only come from someone young, pissed off, and with that “ready to take on the galaxy” type enthusiasm. Exciting, captivating, infuriated and guaranteed to piss off your parental units.    ~ J Castro

Tunnelrunners – 100 MPH 7” – (Punkhouse Records)
Punkhouse is at again and this time it’s the Tunnelrunners. Tunnelrunners were a Swansea trio from late ’78 to ’80. Tunnelrunners, in their time, had released two different EP’s, but both to little avail. Like the other Punkhouse bands, Tunnelrunners should be far more appreciated this time around. Tunnelrunners have an early garage punk minimal sound, think The Lurkers mixed with traces of early Kids. – Ed Stuart

Venom – Barmy Army 7” (Punkhouse)
For any of you that are unfamiliar with Punkhouse Records, let me have the pleasure of telling you a bit about them. This label is reissuing punk rock from South Wales from the late 70’s early 80’s and sparing no expense in doing so!  Beautiful packaging is their signature on all their releases. It’s strictly a labor of love for these guys and you gotta admire that! This particular band belts out some catchy sing a long street punk similar to Sham 69 or Menace that teeters on Oi!/street punk/77 style. 250 copies on some sturdy red vinyl and a beautiful picture sleeve. 
~ J Castro

The Lost Boys – 4-Track 7” – (Punkhouse Records)
In 1980, The Lost Boys, unlike the other two Punkhouse bands I reviewed, took a more new wave/post punk direction. Sounding like The Cure, Echo and The Bunnymen and Joy Division, the band released an EP in 1980 and released another song on a compilation a year later. This 4-Track 7-inch is a re-issue of those songs and after listening, I wonder what would have happened had this band moved to London or Manchester and could of got these songs into the hands of a producer or label with more pull. While these songs have a demo-ish quality, they are filled with the pop melodies that we grew accustom to from bands in the early to mid 1980’s. – Ed Stuart

The Urge/Dodos - Split 7” (Punkhouse)
More labors of love from our friends over in Swansea, South Wales commemorating their scene out there in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Handmade, silkscreened covers with a heavy gage protective plastic sleeve house this great record. Both bands played a great, ultra melodic poppy mod/punk rock that seems heavily Jam and Buzzcocks influenced. It’s actually the same band that changed their name from The Urge to the Dodos in late 1979. 300 copies are all that exists on this planet so get yours quick before all you have left is sorrow and regret.  ~ J Castro

Surprise Party – Heart of Love Cassette – (Shake! Records)
Just when you think you have Surprise Party nailed, you really don’t at all. Surprise Party employs ‘60’s psych pop, some parts sludge, parts punk and ‘90’s pop into a cohesive sound to be their own. Some bands spend their entire musical career honing a specific sound and then running with it, but on Heart Of Love Surprise Party could care less about doing so and I guess, while yes, here come a cheesy pun, in lies the surprise. – Ed Stuart

The Tunnelrunners – Plastic Land 7”(Punkhouse)
The Tunnelrunners played around the Swansea punk scene from 1978 to 1982. This band has more in common with The Lurkers and The Boys, playing loud abrasive pop songs with “heart on your sleeve” and ”you only live once” type of youthful attitude, another winner from the punk rock historians at Punkhouse Records. From what I read their favorite band was The Ramones and they used to cover “Do You Wanna Dance”, more in line with the Ramones version than The Beach Boys I’m sure. That should give you more of an idea of what The Tunnelrunners sound was like, really good stuff!  ~ J Castro

Psychosomatic Itch – S/T Cassette  – (Shake! Records)
After reading the first line of the band’s press release, which states, “Psychosomatic Itch are difficult to describe” I would agree with this quote. Psychosomatic Itch are kind of in a ballpark all their own mixing bits of The Fall, Flipper, Jesus Lizard, Sonic Youth and other pieces from ‘90’s weirder indie rock and bits of psych fuzz to top it off. This cassette was recorded live for a radio show in Victoria, BC, Canada and does give the listener a peek into the band live. – Ed Stuart

B-Lines – S/T Cassette (Shake!)
Spastic and yet somehow catchy and melodic, coming at us from the great white north, it’s Vancouver’s own the B-Lines! This is their debut LP that came out back in 2011, now being reissued on cassette by Shake! Fun, loud, and highly pogo-able music that falls somewhere between F.Y.P. and The Briefs. The band lists Red Kross, Angry Samoans, and The Descendents as main influences. Yeah, I can easily see that too. Great record, meant to be played loud, and meant to irritate as many people in close proximity as possible.    ~ J Castro

Radio Ready Wisconsin – Lost Power Pop Hits 1979 - 1982 – (Cheap Rewards Records)
You know when you have a feeling that you are going to love a record before you even listen to it? Well that’s the feeling I had with Radio Ready. Lost Power Pop Hits 1979 – 1982 already has the one of the golden years of Power Pop in its title. This could be the beginning of a new series much how like Powerpearls and Teenage Treats were almost a decade ago. Radio Ready and then insert city here. To go through every song on Radio Ready Wisconsin would take far too long, but this is Wisconsin’s testament to American Power Pop and while some of the groups like The Shivvers, the Orbits and The Haskells are names you might have recognized; it’s the other lesser bands known that hold this comp together. Highly recommended for fans of Power Pop especially American Power Pop! – Ed Stuart

The Mants – S/T Singles Comp Cassette (Shake!)
Half man, half ant, and all action: it’s The Mants! And you puny humans can’t take the rock n’ roll power this horde holds. Highly influenced by 1960’s loud garage rock n’ roll like The Sonics and lots and lots of B-rate horror, the Mants are fun, mean, and maniacal. This here record is a singles collection by the long running Victoria B.C. band. High volume, high energy, and highly infectious music, all coming from three guys wearing giant ant masks! What more can any feeble earthling ask for!   ~ J Castro

Manual Scan – All Night Scan LP – (Cheap Rewards Records)
Late ‘60’s pop, heavy Jam and ’79 Mod revival influence wrapped up in Beatle boots and sharp suits right in the heart of San Diego. San Diego? Yes, that’s right San Diego! After their high school band dissolved, Manual Scan and their brand of highly infectious Beatle mod-pop was born. All Night Scan covers most of the band’s recorded output from 1982 Plan Of Action EP to 1985 One LP to 1989’s All Night Stand and from what I could figure All Night Scan is not in order according chronological release dates, but that doesn’t matter because the songs are so good it doesn’t really matter when their original release dates were. – Ed Stuart

The Tunes – Love Uncool LP (Cheap Rewards Records)
Absolutely fantastic power pop (emphasis on the pop) from the late 1970’s/early 1980’s from this Topeka, Kansas band. This album collects the bands only EP along with some promo stuff the band released back in the day. Sound quality is top notch too thanks to the fine folks at Cheap Rewards. The Tunes delivered some brilliantly fun and snappy rock n’ roll that still holds up.  It’s a shame they never got their due chance. Think The Nerves with a tad Rezillos keyboards and cartoon-y energy.   ~ J Castro

Thee MVP’s – OH Sally EP (Slovenly Recordings)
Two 1960’s wild and wooly dance floor stompers that will get you moving and shaking all around the room. The B-side “Amok Time” which shares the name of the second season premier (September 16, 1967), episode 30 of Star Trek when Spock and Kirk are forced to battle to the death. Jim Carrey was also inspired by this episode during the filming of the 1996 movie Cable Guy where he and co-star Mathew Broderick battle at Medieval Times using Lirpas, a traditional Vulcan weapon. I say this because I recently watched that movie again and found it every bit as funny as I did back in 1996. I am confident that in 18 years I will still think this is as great a record as when I first heard it.   ~ J Castro

Useless Eaters – Desperate Living EP  – (Slovenly Recordings)
When they tell you don’t judge a book by it’s cover, they are sometimes right and Useless Eaters is the proof of this old adage. Desperate Living starts off this instantly catchy title track that floats somewhere between Pink Flag-era Wire, Los Microwaves and The Normal (think “Warm Leatherette”). Fans of Miscalculations should be checking out Useless Eaters solely for that track. On the other two tracks, Useless Eaters keep that sound, but add a more straight ahead garage sound that meets The Spits. Solid EP. – Ed Stuart

The Anomalys – Deadline Blues (Slovenly Recordings)
A trio of tough and scruffy lads drunkenly and angrily stumbling their way around Amsterdam from space to space peddling killer songs of 1960’s inspired spy/surf guitar riffs, raspy grumbled vocals and a drummer that holds on for dear life trying to keep it all from blowing out all over the walls. This is the band’s fifth release to date following a 2010 LP and three previous EPs, and I vow, right here and now, to get my hands on the rest of this bands records. Wild, mean, arrogant, and hook filled rock n’ roll. Supposedly they’re known as “the wildest live band in Europe.” I can certainly believe that!  ~ J Castro

Puff! – Identittsverlust EP – (Slovenly Recordings)
Puff! Could of have found a way to blend The Spits and The Screamers into almost a seamless entity with a heavy art damage influence. The very first song, “Identittsverlust” sounds like a lost track from an early European punk compilation or like those bootleg Screamers LP’s that were floating around. This EP is sung entirely in German and Puff! is the musically hyper equivalent of a kid with a bad case of ADHD. – Ed Stuart

Wolf Feet – S/T Cassette (Resurrection Records) 
Never really know what you’re gonna get with Resurrection Records, which is just another reason why we love them here at the Audio Ammunition castle stronghold. Wolf Feet are kind of the same way. The opener is a song called “Dead Hand” and it’s a pretty dark melodic ditty with some new wave flavor. The album goes on to incorporate some punk-y garage, “Bowie Birthday” and psychedelic atmospherics “We Are.” Well, done album and highly entertaining.  Even though Wolf Feet incorporate a number of styles they are all blended well and flow together seamlessly.  ~ J Castro

Media Blitz – Burn The World Cassette  – (Resurrection Records/Beserker Records)
Media Blitz has been an Orange County hardcore standard for a while now. Burn The World was originally released in 2012, but has all the marking of Cro-Mags and mid-period DRI. Burn The World features heavy, fast, high velocity songs that slow down for tough breakdown parts to rile the kids up in the pit and then speed back up with a solo overtop. For fans of mid-80’s/early 90’s hardcore, Media Blitz is for you.  – Ed Stuart

Lunch – Johnny Pineapple 7” – (Resurrection Records)
Four catchy blasts of killer melodic punk from Prometheus Wolf and his merry gang crawling out of the Land of Port.  The influences are hard to pin point exactly. It’s got elements of ‘77 Punk, new wave energy and Post Punk angst. The record also has a bit of an echo/hollowness to it, which gives it a dark psych element as well. With all, that BS said, this is a great record. It ends with a cover of Gun Club’s “Sex Beat.” Can’t think of a better way to cap of this stellar slab of wax than that! Go consume Lunch!  ~ J Castro

Bath Party – S/T LP – (Resurrection Records)
Bath Party has a stripped down ‘60’s sounds soaked in reverb twang and lo-fi analog production all throughout their debut LP. Bath Party is a psychedelic stoner band that makes no bones about what it does only these acid rockers are from Portland by way of the ghosts of late ‘60’s San Francisco. – Ed Stuart

TRMRS/Night Beats - Split 7” (Resurrection Records)
TRMRS deliver some sludgy yet rollicking psych rock n’ roll on their half of the disc with a song called “Goodtime Blues.” The song starts out slow and shadowy and slowly revs up to a full fledge barnburner. Now comes Seattle, WA’s Night Beats with a song called “Messiah”.  This one starts out in the muck and just keeps getting dirtier. As the song progresses it just rolls around shaking and shivering in a fevered dream. Not many bands can pull this off but Night Beats have the chops and the charisma to do it. Both bands deliver their “A” game!  ~ J Castro

Mr. Elevator & The Brain Hotel – Are You Hyptnoized? 7” – (Resurrection Records)
One of the bands to feature on the recent Lollipop Records tour along with Froth Corners and Wyatt Blair, who is actually a member of this band. It seems that there are twenty something year olds in bands aplenty wishing for the days of late ‘60’s pop like The Zombies/Nuggets. While Mr. Elevator could arguably be in the same boat as the new crop of bands influenced by psych rock, but what separates them are their pop leanings, which are clearly evident on the song “Dreamer.” – Ed Stuart

Isaac Rother & The Phantoms – I’ve Got A Feeling 7” - (Resurrection Records)
I got a particular feeling when I saw this album cover and it was indeed reinforced! Mr. Rother delivers some fun and sweaty old fashioned rhythm and blues with heavy slathers of Stax and Motown spread on top. This record is to be played loud and in a room where there is plenty of dancing space. If not, Sir Isaac Rother & the Phantoms cannot be held responsible for any of your materialistic junk that will get pummeled if not removed from the premises. I can only imagine what a show this band must put on live.  ~ J Castro

Cumstain – White People Problems LP – (Resurrection Records)
White People Problems is full of garage-pop tunes that lean a lot towards some blended up version of Beach Boys harmonies, ‘50’s/’60’s rock n’ roll drowned in a lo-fi Ramones “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” bath. Cumstain has been touring a lot lately and has probably played your town with or without you really knowing it. While White People Problems, which was released last year, doesn’t have the clean pop of a Warm Soda, it’s not to be dismissed simply due it’s sex themed name and lyrics, but listened to for the dirtied up pop songs found underneath. – Ed Stuart

Outer Minds – Behind The Mirror LP - (Resurrection/FDH/Red Lounge)
Three guys and a couple of lady vixens give forth a smooth and charmingly campy 60’s style psych rock which glides smoothly to and fro around the room on a magic carpet of keyboards and tambourines. The album in general is pretty dark and laid back at the same time, which from what I read, is a turn of styles from the last album these Chicagoans put out. Their previous material I guess is a bit brighter. Not exactly my cup of tea but I respect the mystical power this album illuminates from its nucleus.  ~ J Castro

Silver Screams – Cheap Joint Scratch EP – (Self-Release)
Silver Screams reminds me of TSOL’s Dance With Me and Beneath The Shadows, which they cover “Wash Away” as a result. On Cheap Joint Scratch, this “power-trio” plays a tough catchy blend of tunes much like the aforementioned TSOL mixed with Damned’s Black Album era. – Ed Stuart

Spokenest – Destroy, Gone, Listen, Lose EP - (Self-Release)
I liked this album from the first time I played it. It’s got a very tinny lo-fi production and the style of punk Spokenest play coupled with its production reminds me of something that what would have been on a Killed By Death comp. It’s raw, angry yet melodic enough to not sound like a bunch of crap hurled at you by a couple of kids that are pissed at their parents for not letting them stay out late. But then I started thinking about it more and I came to the conclusion that if they had better production it would sound like run of the mill crusty Conflict style anarcho punk with the guy/girl trade off vocals. Here’s to hoping Spokenest stay on the cheap!
~ J Castro

Dan Webb and The Spiders – Now It Can Be Told LP – (Safe Responsible Records)
Now It Can Be Told is the band’s fourth LP, but it is a compilation of singles and other various releases since 2011’s Much Obliged. Dan Webb and The Spiders or DWATS play a melodic blue-collar punk in the same way early Gaslight Anthem did. Heart on the sleeve poignant vocals mixed with Thermals for good measure.  – Ed Stuart

TV Freaks – Leeches 7” (Hosehead)
Holy smokes this is one heavy slab of wax! This is my first time hearing TV Freaks and rest assured it is not going to be my last. Right out of the gate the song “Leeches Master” almost severed my head clean off my narrow shoulders and all three tracks on this 7” are consistently great. They discharge furious, shot out of the sky and coming down hard in flames style of fuzz punk/post punk/hardcore. It’s so great when I can find remnants of bands like The Stooges and Swell Maps among the wreckage. OK, I’m going to stop writing this review now so I can go listen to more TV Freaks!   ~ J Castro

Angel Dust – A.D. LP  – (REACT! Records / Reaper Records)
It’s been rumored that PCP makes the user go crazy which is what the kids do at Angel Dust shows. Angel Dust new LP A.D., the band’s debut, is released hot off the heels of last year’s Xtra Raw. Angel Dust mixes Poison Idea punk/hardcore with late 80’s/90’s hardcore like Kill Your Idols or Kid Dynamite. – Ed Stuart

Space Raft – S/T LP (Dusty Medical)
Whew what a relief it was when I put on this record and it wasn’t a straight up Sky Saxon influenced psych band that seems to be running amok these days. Space Raft instead have a quenching 1970’s sound with big hooks and melodies powerful enough to sweep you off your feet. This is the perfect album to put on a warm, cloudless Sunday afternoon when there’s nothing really to do but take a drive and collect your thoughts. They’ve been compared to Big Star and Mathew Sweet: I have no reason to argue. This is in fact a terrific album and I will have words with anyone saying anything to the contrary. Unless of course I listen to some Space Raft, it chills me out, and then I won’t give a crap what you think.  ~ J Castro

The Robinsons – Party at Nebulion II – (Mooster Records)
Party at Nebulion II is a party, in a recording studio, that a couple of friends, Wyatt and Mike from The Loblaws, did for a friend that was leaving town. The Robinsons, their band name for this LP, is a mix of a few Loblaws songs and the rest are covers played acoustically with handclaps. Bands covered include Ramones, The Ergs, Mr T. Experience and Groovie Ghoulies to name a few. This Party is reminiscent of when a few friends have had quite a bit to drink and sing some of their favorite songs, but it’s 3:00 in the morning so they figure it’s better to play them acoustically because it’s so late. – Ed Stuart

Slow Learners – Grow On You CD EP (Debt Offensive)
I want to take a sample from the water source that supplies Vancouver BC and mainline it in hopes of getting a small taste of whatever if fueling the creative explosion up there. Slow Learners come out drunkenly swinging with some loud, ultra melodic rock n’ roll ruckus. I’m sure the band is tired of the Replacements comparisons, but it’s unavoidable I’m afraid. This record completely holds its own though. After all, there are worse bands to be compared to. 
~ J Castro

Needles//Pins – Shamebirds LP – (Dirt Cult Records)
12:34 was one hell of an LP and so was their Out of This Place single so there were some high expectations and Shamebirds does not disappoint. Needles//Pins are Canada’s answer to The Undertones and Protex. Needles//Pins plays this stripped down highly addictive punk-pop much in the same vein as the aforementioned bands that digs it’s way into your ear and then just makes it’s home there.  – Ed Stuart

The Binz – How to Freak Out Responsibly About the Rise of the Robots LP (Not Your Buddy/Shake!)
This is the debut LP from these Vancouver residents and hard drinkers. With an album name like this you’d think they would be some total goof ball pop punk or spazzed out lo-fi trash bash. Not so however, the Binz have more in common, musically anyway, with hard rocking punk bands like Electric Frankenstein. I also detect a hint of Glenn Danzig in vocalist Gary Robertz. Just when you think you know what this band is all about they start throwing in Queens of The Stone Age style riffs in the songs and some post punk angularity in as well. Solid record: the energy is kept at a constant high and it never gets boring.     ~ J Castro

Van Dammes – The VD EP – (Keep Fishin Music)
One thing that always amazes is how bands hear about Audio Ammunition in the first place. Van Dammes are from Finland and submitted this EP for review. Van Dammes are noisier mix of Ramones, Misfits and with 7 Seconds “Whoa-oh” vocals especially on the opening track “(Let’s) Go.” “Daniel” is a couple notes short of a Ramones riff while the fourth track “Sexy Apartment” has a more late ‘90’s noisy alternative sound. – Ed Stuart

Blank Pages – S/T LP (Dirt Cult)
Coming to us from Berlin are former members of Idle Hands and Modern Pets who are now calling themselves Blank Pages. This is some first-rate melodic punk rock that sounds like it could have come from Denton TX. It has a lot in common with current bands like Radioactivity and Bad Sports. The biggest difference though is the new Radioactivity LP seems to shine a bit more with positive vibes, this record produces more an atmosphere of darkness and desperation.  Not all the tracks are like this though, there are some sunnier numbers. Check out the song “All in Due Timefor example. This is a high-quality record with good production on an excellent record label.   ~ J Castro

Apocalypse Meow – Baseball and Alcohol EP – (Dirt Cult Records)
Will this band be more known for its Manga comic name or for that the band features Justin from Off With Their Heads? Either way Apocalypse Meow plays a mix of Marked Men meets early Lookout style pop-punk. I know the term pop-punk got destroyed, but it might be time to reclaim the term from the fire. Baseball and Alcohol is full of fast hi-tempo with the emotional resonance of mid-period Jawbreaker.  – Ed Stuart

Autonomy/No Sir I Won’t – Split 12” (Dirt Cult)
We start off with Carbondale IL’s Autonomy who mix mid tempo Fugazi inspired music with sudden bursts of fury and anarcho/crusty punk politics. On the flipside is Boston’s No Sir I Won’t. Both bands have a similar “Peace Punk” agenda but it’s No Sir I Won’t that brings the similar fury to Crass/Rudimentary Peni to the table, epically with songs like “Occupy” and “Support Authority.” You can kind of tell what you’re getting into with some of the song names and especially with the album cover. Not really my groove, but both bands are tightly wound up and don’t come off as amateurish.   ~ J Castro

Duck and Cover – Duck and Cover LP – (Self-Release)
Duck and Cover are couple guys from Black Cheers plus other Boston bands like Bang Camaro, Wild Zero and The Throwaways. Where Black Cheers has a more Humpers/New Bomb Turks rock n’ roll style; Duck and Cover has a more Black Haloes and Rocket From The Crypt vibe. Duck and Cover isn’t afraid to put the rock over the roll and let the guitars do the talking on this release. – Ed Stuart

New Swears – Junk food Forever, Bedtime Whatever LP (Bachelor)
I love it when a record cover embodies the same mood as the band’s music. This record is full of sun light, fun catchy hooks and is pretty much a guaranteed party starter wherever it’s played.   This Ottawa quartet keeps it wild, loose, and easy going on their 2nd full length. This is what The Beach Boys would have sounded like if they had smoked up earlier in their career and sustained themselves on a steady diet of Doritos, Donuts, and Beer.  ~ J Castro

Shovel – S/T Cassette  – (Parallel Resonance)
Lo-fi, noisy late 90’s indie/grunge/budget rock that reminds of some of the stuff that Amphetamine Reptile used to put out. Shovel is a two-piece guitar and drum, on the cassette they are/were a three-piece, that according to some audience member is “L7 Meets Mudhoney.” I’m not sure I’d totally agree with that, but I would agree with Shovel using that same era as influence.  – Ed Stuart

Jack’s Indigo – VI EP (Self Released)
This California trio sites bands like Green Day, NOFX, and Bad Religion as direct influences. It barely comes out in their music though. From what their bio says, all three members of the band contribute equally to the writing of the music. That actually becomes apparent as the record plays through. The album pretty much continues to mellow as it progresses until we get to the second to the last song simply titled “V,” which is pretty much a full on ballad. Good alternative music with some punk angst played by nice looking boys and girls.  ~ J Castro

Missiles of October – Don’t Panic LP  – (Self-Release)
Missiles of October are a heavy rock band much like Helmet was in the ‘90’s. Don’t Panic is a musically tough record full of heavy riffs over slower pounding drums. It’s amazing how much ‘90’s influence is in bands these days and Missiles of October takes a lot from the decade. If Helmet, Unwound and Unsane are your cup of tea, Missiles of October deserve your ears and a spin. – Ed Stuart

The Gaggers – Blame You LP (Wanda)
The Gaggers are heavily influenced by the late 1970’s era of punk rock and take that manic energy, snotty vocals, and ferociously catchy hooks that were so prevalent back then to a new and uncharted level on this, their second LP. I hear some Yankee influences like Zeros, Crime, and Heartbreakers a bit more it seems this time around. Don’t worry though; they still have that singer with one hand in the piss and the other in the vinegar waiting to smear it into your eyes.  Those loud, sharp, distorted guitars and that rhythm section that doesn’t seem like they’re pounding on traditional drum heads or bass strings, but I could swear it’s the sound of taut human flesh!    ~ J Castro

So Cow – The Long Con LP  – (Goner Records)
Irish indie-noise-pop trio originally started as a one-man band and after several releases remained one until now. Singer/songwriter Brian Kelly was a one-man machine on previous LP Meaningless Friendly, but for Long Con he has employed a member of Derhoof to produce and a band to bring his new songs to fruition. So Cow, on Long Con, waver between a Wreckless Eric type pop and more ‘90’s quirky pop. – Ed Stuart

Giorgio Murderer - Primitive World EP (Goner)
Rob from Buck Biloxi and the Fucks put the guitars in the corner for a bit and brought out the keyboards and goes a bit Lost Sounds on us. This is some super trashy, lo-fi, demented synth-punk. Four short shotgun blasts of fun campy music like Hairspray meets Evil Dead 2 in the Thunder Dome. The whole vibe I get from this record is darkness, bleakness, no future type stuff. But like I said before, the way it’s presented and recorded makes it fun, not like you’re listening to Subhumans or anything, just super cool sci-fi sounds for your enjoyment!  ~ J Castro

The Boys – Punk Rock Menopause LP  – (Wolverine Records)
When a punk band from yesteryear announces they are going to release an LP of new material, the inevitable question is should it be compared to band’s older and, in most cases, classic material or as an entity of it’s own? In this version of The Boys, Matt Dangerfield, Casino Steel, and Honest John Plain, which was the writing nucleus of arguably the greatest punk-pop-power-pop band of all time, are all back. Punk Rock Menopause in an odd way acts as a compilation record not in the fact that its songs are from different LP’s, but that when you listen to it you wonder where each song would fit on their first four LP’s. Punk Rock Menopause leans heavily toward the punk-pop of the last three LP’s and not the punk ferocity of the first. Yes, The Boys are back after thirty-three years and Punk Rock Menopause can stand in it’s own. – Ed Stuart

The New Trocaderos - Kick Your Ass EP (Collectors Club)
If any of you were lucky enough to hear this band’s 1st EP, you know what you’re in for: some of the best rock n’ roll songs produced by human hands in decades. The band consists of The Connection’s Brad and Geoff, the one and only Kurt Baker, and songwriting partner Mr. Mike Chaney. The opener “Real Gone Kitty” explodes with Jerry Lee Lewis piano fury. Then it smoothly glides into the Elvis Costello-ish “Dream Girl” and finally into the third and final number: “Brain Gone Dead” that sounds like it could have been a lost Ramones track from the Rocket to Russia LP. Exciting, exhilarating, exceptional: all understatements when describing this record and this band.  ~ J Castro

The Cheap Cassettes – All Anxious, All the Time CD (Cassettes on Record)
The Cheap Cassettes consist of two former members of the late 1990’s underground heroes Dimestore Haloes and this disc doesn’t stray too far from that band’s latter material. Sleazed up, glammed out rock n’ roll music with irresistible hooks and a 1970’s swagger. Listening to this CD, I can hear influences from all decades of rock music in the songs. From the opening title track that has an almost Motown style opening riff to “Seconds of Pleasure” and “Girlfriend” which sound like it could have been a hit in the mid to late 80’s. Cheap Cassettes gently weave all of this into their own sound though, and that sound is terrific rock n’ roll music with a quality that transcends time and genres.  ~ J Castro

Not The Ones – You Just Keep Me In a Box 7” (Wanda)
This Berlin threesome fling forth a terrific brand of lo-fi garage pop punk that falls somewhere between the Spoiled Brats and Tilt with Male/Female vocals. They’ve been around since 2010 but had to change their name a couple of times and burned up a couple of drummers from what I read. This is a good quality, fun release just how I like ‘em: short, fast, loud, with catchy choruses. Wanda Records out of Germany is another label that you can just blindly buy whatever they put out and be assured you are getting a quality product. This record just further adds to their amazing catalog!  ~ J Castro

Dime Runner – Can’t Express 7” (Wanda)
Wanda does America!  Southern California heroes (and current tour mates with Eddie and The Hotrods) serve up a two song of their brand of tough, fast yet melodic punk rock that seem to perfectly blend early European punk bands like The Clash and Stiff Little Fingers with Southern California legends like Adolescents and Circle Jerks. I know what you’re thinking: two songs?? That’s it??  Yeah, but both songs are winners, no throwaways here, and “Can’t Express” is probably my favorite Dime Runner song and I count myself as a fan of this band. ~ J Castro

Latex Squad – S/T 7” (Wanda)
Geez can Wanda Records put out a bad record? I am starting to think they can’t! This is yet another great poppy punk record by the band Latex Squad, also from the great nation of Germany. From what I can gather, they just formed earlier this year and put out this record not too long after of good lean goof ball punk rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The production on the record is pretty raw and minimalistic but in this case it adds to the charm. So projecting their releases based on their past performance, I eagerly anticipate a career spanning box set by the holidays! ~ J Castro

Ricky C Quartet – Recent Affairs LP (Wanda)
What impresses me the most about Ricky C Quartet is how they effortlessly evolved from an acid spewing ‘77 style punk band to a stripped down, pub rock style similar to the 101’ers and Dr Feelgood. Recent Affairs still does have some songs that will thoroughly relocate the roof of your house (see “Rock the Boat” or “Sometimes”) but RCQ have slowed down the pace here just a bit too. Any good and serious band has to evolve or they risk becoming tired and complacent but the trick is to evolve down a path that your fans can follow along as well. Not only did they choose the right path but they paved it with gold, making it impossible to resist.  ~ J Castro

Impo and The Tents - Peek after a Poke LP (Alien Snatch)
Immediately after hearing the first few seconds of this record I knew I was going to love it. Late 1970’s style power pop punk like The Undertones or Buzzcocks mixed with a splash of The Dickies, just so that things don’t get too serious on us. The Tents have a number of 7”’s and another LP prior but I feel like they really found a unique sound or “niche” if you will, on this release. I realize I compared them to other bands, but although I can hear some of their influences coming through, these Swedes spin it their own way. That’s what makes it so exciting.  Super enjoyable, super amazing record that commands repeat listens.  ~ J Castro

Testors – Complete Recordings 1976 – 1979 CD & LP (Alien Snatch)
If anyone is still unfamiliar with this band, let me give you my take. Testors were around NYC in the mid to late 1970’s punk scene and fit right in with the rest of the bands that immediately come to mind when mentioning that era. Not as sleazy as Stiv and the Dead Boys, not the class clowns like The Dictators or as hopelessly romantic as Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, but perhaps a great blend of all three. Sonny Vincent and Greg Sinigalliano produced some raw, passionate punk rock n’ roll that should be held up with praise as high as any of the above-mentioned bands. This release, like the title states, has it all. Studio recordings and live mayhem, most of the live stuff sounds pretty good too. Again, if you are unfamiliar with the Testors, there is no better place to start to get acquainted! ~ J Castro

Zentralheizung of Deaths – Would You Rather LP (Alien Snatch)
I had no idea what to expect based on the cover picture. But I had confidence in my lads in Alien Snatch not to let me down and they didn’t. This is some chaotic garage rock with one foot in a bucket of contemporary influences like International Noise Conspiracy or DC’s The Make Up and the other knee deep in Sonics and Billy Childish. Terrifically catchy guitar riffs, a rhythm section you can actually hear and a singer with enough swagger and charisma to steer this outta control flaming jet liner right into your soul and park it there. While it’s sitting there on fire, burning a hole in your soul, you’ll realize you don’t want it extinguished!  ~ J Castro

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