Monday, November 24, 2014


Gino and the Goons – Shake It! LP (Black Gladiator/Slovenly Recordings/Total Punk)
These Floridians know how to get up and get down with the best of ‘em! As soon as you push play, the barn doors fly open and the wild animals come running out like the place is on fire!  From the first song, that sets the bar pretty high, there is just no let up. Sleazed up, messed up, but done up right rock n’ roll like DMZ, and Real Kids. I know those are some pretty big names to drop, but Gino and the Goons hold their own right next to them with their heads held high.  They chip away at their influences but never copy.  You can just tell these are all kindred rock n’ roll spirits looking for a good time.  ~ J Castro

Sick Thoughts – Fat Kid with a 10 Inch 10” LP (Slovenly Recordings)
The Baltimore battering ram is on the loose again and this time it’s added a few inches for more destructive power! This is some pretty trashy, lo-fi, barely controlled blow torch blasts of punk rock that still manages to keep itself on the road with some loose and catchy rock n’ roll strut.  It’s wild, unpredictable and the deeper you go into this record the more you realize you like each song more than the last. Loud music made by troubled young men that is sure to invite thoughts of paranoia, violence and sexual deviancy in anyone that’s smart enough to listen.  All of your wildest adolescent dreams are about to come true!   ~ J Castro

The Monsieurs – S/T LP (Black Gladiator/Slovenly Recordings)
Starting off kind of slow with the dark and lurking “Kari Ann,” the record quickly becomes a celebration of blues kissed rock n’ roll fury I was hoping it would be with the song “The Rat.”  With vocals that sound like they were captured in a snowstorm with the recording device 50 feet away, guitars firing away so relentlessly the notes are indistinguishable and drums hit so loud your puny inner ears can barely process the volume. With former Tunnel of Love mastermind Andy Macbain at the helm; you kind of kind of know what you’re in for. The Monsieurs however have more Gories strut and style though. I want me some more!  ~ J Castro

Ausmuteants – Fed Through a Tube 7” (Total Punk)
Melbourne, Australia’s answer to the X-Men, well maybe the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is more like it. This record has sealed in itself two audio concussion charges that are sure to jerk your neck out of place as soon as you drop the needle on it. The A side and title track is a straight on full frontal Angry Samoans style punk attack. The B Side is a song called “Arguments” and it employs some keys in the background giving it a more Screamers/The Units vibe. Just like the record label name boasts this is Total Punk: nothing more, nothing less!  ~ J Castro

Buck Biloxi and the Fucks – Culture Demanufacturer LP (Total Punk)
First of all I want to say that this is one of my favorite album covers of the year!  Just like the album title says, BBF are here to do just that. They’re here to question your elitist morals and tear down your materialistic lifestyle with a stripped down minimalistic approach to the whole punk rock thing.  Buck Biloxi and the Fucks don’t want to follow you down that path to a utopian society because they know it’s not real. Disgust, apathy and doubt will always be a part of human nature and they know it. Someone once said that the opposite of love is not hate but indifference; I say the opposite of love is Buck Biloxi and the Fucks!   ~ J Castro

Cuello – Modo Eterno Cassette (Shake! Records)
From the town of Valencia, Spain comes Cuello. They describe themselves as a mixture of Husker Du, Sonic Youth and Weezer. I can certainly see that but there is a more melodic hard hitting element in there as well. I can hear some 90’s style punk in there like Rhythm Collision, Snuff and Face to Face. Good, loud music with plenty of guitar riffs and melody to make it easy on the old ear canal. Sometimes trying to pigeonhole bands through comparisons does them a huge disservice. What I try to do is give you a mere glimpse of the same feelings I get then I hear these bands as well. Cuello are all of the above bands and more. Well, except for maybe the Sonic Youth part, I am still a bit confused on that one!   ~ J Castro

Napalmpom – The Unconditional Love of Napalmpop Cassette (Shake! Records)
This record is so fun and massive I am surprised any kind of plastic record format can contain it for very long. If you lived in the mid 1970’s suburbs when all there was to really worry about on a Saturday night was where the beer and girls were, then this album would be your 1st choice to play loud as you pull out of your driveway and head out of your to pick up your buddies for the evening. Napalmpom take tiny piranha bites of The Who, Thin Lizzy, Cheap Trick, AC/DC and mix them in a cauldron bubbling over with exhilaration and irreverence. I know this is a tall order of comparisons, but Napalmpom don’t impersonate, they use all of the above elements to concoct their own unique mixture of explosive 70’s style R-O-C-K!   ~ J Castro

Hansmole – Whitest Whiteness Cassette (Shake! Records)
A bit of a different kind of release among all the trashed out rock n’ roll chaos we’ve been getting here at the Audio Ammunition remote castle stronghold. Enter Victoria, British Colombia’s Hansmole slowly gliding 6 inches above the ground like an apparition in the foggy darkness. The music is a mixture of dim, swirling, atmospherics like Dead Can Dance mixed with The Velvet Underground. Some of the songs vary from an electronic droning background to more earthy textures woven throughout. Either way the album feels brilliantly pieced together and has a definite disposition of twilight ambiance that haunts your consciousness for quite sometime after listening.   ~ J Castro

The Vicious Cycles MC – Bad News Travels Fast Cassette (Shake! Records)
These Vancouver bruisers play tough, hard hitting melodic punk rock similar to Boston’s Dropkick Murphy’s and Street Dogs. Imagine being lost somewhere cold and it’s getting late, really late. The only light on you see is in a small run down pub on the corner. You go in to ask for directions, (because you’re not THAT alpha) and there’s a band playing to a bunch of drunken, barrel chested blokes in plaid shirts and combat boots. All arm in arm singing along to every word of the song loudly and off key. This is what I see when I close my eyes while listening to this album. Well made punk rock that straddles the fences between Oi!/Street Punk and good ol’ fashioned leather clad rock n’ roll.   ~ J Castro

The Lad Mags – S/T Cassette (Shake! Records)
Killer 1960’s style dark and moody mod/soul from these girls (and guy!) band slinking around the darkened corners of Edmonton, Alberta. Think early Dusty Springfield or Shangri-La’s mixed with Brian Jonestown Massacre with a pinch of Siouxsie and The Banshees macabre and mystique. This here is a bonafied compilation of all the 3 EP’s the band has released this year plus a couple of bonus tunes! Perfect place to start if you like this sort of thing, and if you don’t you had better reevaluate some of the key decisions you’ve made in your life and figure out what went wrong and when!  ~ J Castro

Catholic Girls – Sheila Joined a Cult Cassette (Shake! Records)
The title of the record may give off the impression that this is going to be some kind of silly band that’s not taking itself too seriously, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Calgary, Alberta’s Catholic Girls discharge a thrilling blend of guitars riding a tsunami of keyboards that produce pulsating blasts of shadowy sound encircled by chaos, darkness and urgency that has slivers of new wave, post punk, and lo-fi madness lodged throughout. I get a similar feel when I hear bands like Lost Sounds or The Faint. This is Catholic Girls debut release, can’t wait to see how much further into the abyss this band goes on their next records.   ~ J Castro

Zen Mystery Fogg – S/T Cassette (Shake! Records)
Let it be known that Vancouver, British Colombia is not to be left behind on the Neo-Psychedelic party train. The good city has purchased a ticket and secured their seats on the movement that is sure to leave a permanent mark on underground music for years to come. The fine folks at Shake! Records bring us evidence of this with this band spinning mid tempo, slightly twee, blurred garage rock n’ roll. Production is echo-y and slightly hollowed out just the way you like it, it’s the perfect combination for making this tape echo in the halls of your head throughout a summer afternoon.  ~ J Castro

The Repossessors – 20 Angry Months Cassette (Shake! Records)
Vancouver’s Repossessors immediately and with both hands shove three songs in your clean innocent face that are full of mean, dark and ominous rock n’ roll with loud thick guitars hanging on some undeniably catchy hooks. Three songs is all you’ll need before you wake up covered in sweat, yours? Who knows! Who cares! You’ll be dehydrated, head pounding, and ready to turn the tape over and do it all over again! Minimalistic production with a similar savage approach to punk rock like the Dead Boys meets Rip Off Records makes for one monumentally great tape!  ~ J Castro

The Connection – A Christmas Gift for LP (Collector’s Club Records)
This record compiles the Christmas singles the band has been putting out for the last couple of years plus adds a few new ones. This album isn’t one of those that craps in Santa’s toy bag either, oh no! It stays true to the spirit of the season with songs like “I Feel Fine (It’s Christmas Time)” and “Rock n’ Roll Christmas.” The band take a similar approach to Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run” mixed with The Connection’s usual brand of mod rock n’ roll similar to early Who and Small Faces. The album winds down with a cover of the Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight).”  Yes boys and girls this year is shaping up to be the best Christmas ever!  ~ J Castro

Jennie Vee – Die Alone EP (Self Released)
The amount of terrific self released records out there never ceases to amaze me.  Here is one prime example, Brooklyn NY’s Jennie Vee. She answers the question: what would it sound like if Debbie Harry got in the middle of those perpetually feuding Reid brothers in the Jesus and Mary Chain and the three of them formed a band? The answer is a dream pop/shoegaze extravaganza. Die Alone slowly ripples with reverb drenched guitars that shimmer against Jennie’s warm vocals that abduct you and leave you in a twilight state of consciousness atop a skyscraper at night. As you get up and gaze at the urban landscape below, you think of all the beauty, sadness and danger that lie beneath you, all of this and more envelopes the songs on this wonderful new EP.  ~ J Castro             

Tacocat – NVM LP (Hardly Art)
A lot of the press I’ve read mentions candy and fast food to try and describe Tacocat’s sound and all around persona as a band. This sort of thing kind of paints a picture that adolescent silliness is what this band is all about, well it is partially I suppose but that’s a good thing. Tacocat is a lot more than that though. This what I visualize when I hear NVM: Imagine Suzi Quatro, Belinda Carlisle, Kathleen Hanna, and Ronnie Spector arm in arm skipping around the State Fair. They all decide to go on the Ferris wheel and while they’re all up there at the very tip top they all simultaneously receive an epiphany and decide to verbally share it: “Hey, let’s all form a band!”  They all shout while throwing their hands up in the air. Their result would be very similar to Tacocat’s NVM.   ~ J Castro

S - Cool Choices LP (Hardly Art)
S aka Jenn Ghetto was a founding member of the late band Carissa’s Weird that started in Tucson, AZ and ended in Seattle, WA. Carissa’s Weird never really took off and the band called it a day in 2003. Some of the residual members trotted off and formed a little group called Band of Horses, perhaps you’ve heard of them. Either way the point is Jenn Ghetto has cut her teeth in the music world. This time around, she enlisted the help of pal Chris Walla (of Death Cab for Cutie fame) to serve as engineer and producer on this, her 4th solo outing. Cool Choices’ introspective folk kissed collection of songs displays an array of sensitivity and delicate harmonies that are carefully and cleverly mended together into something passionate and cohesive. ~ J Castro

Protomartyr – Under Color of Official Right LP (Hardly Art)
This is a pretty unusual record coming out of The Motor City. Right out of the gate, hearing the Glen Danzig meets David Byrne by way of Ian Curtis vocals conjured up the dark hollowness of some post-punk bands. The rest of the band however doesn’t follow down that path. The guitars are far more bombast and the rhythm section is much louder than any of those “rainy day in the city for the closet intellectual” type bands. Although I wouldn’t call Protomartyr a straight up Post Punk band, however I do think it would take a fan of bands like Husker Du, Mission of Burma or even The Minutemen to really appreciate what these guys are doing.   ~ J Castro

La Sera – Hour of the Dawn LP (Hardly Art)
This is Kickball Katy of Vivian Girls side project. It doesn’t stray too far from The Viv’s latest material (2011’s Share the Joy), minus a lot of the fuzz. Being middle aged and having a fairly large record collection, I realized after hearing this that I own La Sera’s last record that came out a couple of years ago called Sees the Light, I also remembered how much I liked it. A bit toned down are the lush Camera Obscura/Belle and Sebastian lush and melodic songs that Share the Joy revolved around. The songs on Hour of Dawn have a more natural, stripped down production that gives off an urgent feel to the album. Still the La Sera you’ve grown to love, only leaning a bit more towards the Vivian-esque side.  ~ J Castro  

Gem Club – In Roses LP (Hardly Art)
Gem Club produce music that makes you feel like you’re floating around untethered in space.  It’s beautiful, fragile, and vast like nature itself. The Massachusetts trio continues to paint exquisite landscapes of sonic beauty on In Roses their 2nd LP following 2011’s Breakers and a self released EP in 2010 called Acid and Everything. In the 5 years of their existence, vocalist/pianist Christopher Barnes, cellist Kristen Drymala, and vocalist Ivea Berberian have hardly strayed from their unique formula of Dream Pop. If artists such as Perfume Genius and Antony and the Johnsons capture your interest then prepare your soul for the next level because it has arrived in In Roses.  ~ J Castro 

Golden Pelicans – S/T LP (Total Punk)            
These four Floridians make you violently flail all four limbs as soon as you hear the first 10 seconds of the opening track “Two Feathers.” This is ultra tight, veins bursting from your neck, blue collar, “you can’t fire me ‘cause I quit’” rock n’ roll that reminds me of something that would have come out of Australia in the late 1970’s like X or Radio Birdman mixed with New York’s Testors. Yes it’s wild, yes it’s sweaty, and if you spend enough time with this record it will probably take a swing at you. Consider my ass kicked!  ~ J Castro

Lumpy and The Dumpsters – Bat EP (Total Punk)
This St. Louis band, despite the name is actually a breath of fresh air and apparently I’m not the only one that thinks so; their records are said to sell out in just a few days from their record labels! Lumpy and his drunken band of malcontents don’t care about GMO’s or capitalism running unchecked.  Why can’t one just be pissed off now days? I don’t know why I’m pissed sometimes, I just am and Lumpy and the Dumpsters provide the perfect soundtrack for those moments. They remind me of bands like Quincy Punx or Submachine from back in the mid 1990’s: loud, drunk, sloppy and ornery. Who needs anger management when you got music like this to help dispel all your daily frustrations!  ~ J Castro

Ausmuteants – Order of Operation LP (Goner)
As the name suggests, these lads hail from Australia, well I suppose you could guess Austria but you’d be wrong. Ausmuteants have never sounded more refined and focused than on this record.  This band does the post apocalypse synth-punk cha-cha that seems to be gaining in popularity these days but unlike some of their peers they don’t have that frenzied and chaotic sound like Stalins of Sound or Miscalulations. This album has the band leaning more towards early Killing Joke. The dark fog of synthesizers now carry the band willingly into the darkness instead of grabbing them by the foot as they violently kick and scream as they get dragged back into the shadowy realm from which they came.    ~ J Castro  

The Blind Shake - Breakfast of Failures (Goner)
A few words came immediately to mind when I started listening to this long running Minneapolis trio’s new LP: massive, ominous, destructive and glorious. I imagine a similar cycle of emotions would run through your head if you saw a squadron of B-29 Superfortress Bombers roar overhead and then suddenly began laying waste to your hometown. Blind Shake’s music isn’t disjointed beats or unintelligible noise though. There is a hard driving rhythm section present, a singer that growls and belts out the ripping vocals when called for, but all of this rides on bulky and melodic guitar riffs that seem to steer this enormous beast into something deceptively unified.    ~ J Castro  

Nots – We Are Nots LP (Goner)
A fiery frenzy of punk rock is unleashed as Nots bestow upon the world their debut LP. Their scrappy sounds of disenchantment combined with fierce female prowess sounds like it could have been on a Kill Rock Stars comp 20 years ago right in between Jack Acid and Bratmobile. But these girls aren’t from anywhere near the Pacific Northwest, they’re from the great city of Memphis, Tennessee. With the kind of records Goner had been putting out lately, this record fits right in there. 11 short sharp stabs of punk rock, like little prison shivs stuck in and broken off in the kidney!  ~ J Castro     

Various Artists – Shake! Sampler II Cassette (Shake! Records)
If anyone out there is still unfamiliar with this label, rectify that situation immediately. Victoria, British Colombia’s Shake! Records have been putting out quality new and reissues of cassettes and vinyl now since 2010. The thing that really impresses me about this label is how diverse their releases are yet still appeal to the rock n’ roll heart: from snotty ‘77 punk, gloriously sloppy trash rock, indie rock atmospherics, and 60’s Girls in the Garage style bands. A lot of these bands we’re already given full reviews. Some newly discovered gems for me though were Monster Treasure, Lab Coast and the almighty Jolt covering Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” (available only on the download version). This tape is a perfect jumping off point into the wonderfully eclectic world of Shake! Records!    ~ J Castro    

The Electric Dates – Eels Hips Cassette (Shake! Records)
Five songs, some original and some covers including The Sonics “Strychnine” and the Wailers classic “Out of Our Tree.” All this and more brought to you by these nutty Canadians that include members of Mascara Nites, Durban Poison and Electric Empress. The production of these garage rock stompers sounds as if the band was playing on a small boat in the middle of the ocean on a particularly windy day and the device that was recording them fell off the boat is was floating around near the ocean floor in a sharks belly. Good, solid rocking party starters here but be aware, if you’re ear isn’t a tuned to such lo-fi lunacy, you may not fully absorb all the benefits this tape has to offer. In that case all I can do is pity you.   ~ J Castro  

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