Wednesday, May 10, 2017

March/April 2017 Reviews

Accidente – Pulso LP (Dirt Cult)
Honestly, before listening to Accidente, I didn’t really know what to expect. I figured there was a chance they would sing in Spanish and that I was right about. Accidente hail from Madrid and Getafe. Pulso is a fun sounding punk-pop with lyrics that range from socio-political to friendship. Musically, they fall somewhere in between a Soviettes, Masshysteri and less produced Fat punk-pop. Yes, the lyrics are sung in Spanish, but don’t let that stop you because they have translated the lyrics into English. Hell, this might be the bi-lingual kickstart you needed. The main thing that keeps Accidente different than other bands dipping into politics is they are not against everything. It’s also nice when the singer sings every song regardless of lyrical topic instead of chanting/lecturing the listener. – Ed Stuart

Action Jets – Breakin’ Through LP (Self-Release)
Dfactor Dave is a busy guy of late. In between, releasing his solo LP and this new Action Jets LP, Breaking Through. Action Jets remind me a lot of Carpettes on Breakin Through. I can’t quite figure if it’s the lo-fi production approach or songwriting that focuses on getting the most of out a few chords instead a wealth of them. According to their Bandcamp page, the band recorded in secret at a number of Phoenix locations. Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if Action Jets recorded in a proper studio. Would it take away some of the charm or highlight some of the hooks that might get lost? In the meantime, I will just enjoy Action Jets as they are.  – Ed Stuart

Altered Beast – S/T 7” (Blak Skul)
These guys are from Kansas City and play dark, take no prisoner’s Metal.  I don’t know a lot about Metal, I have never been much of a fan but I don’t dislike it, if that makes any sense.  I will try to, with my limited knowledge, give you a brief description of what I hear when listening to this record.  The songs go from full on “go for the throat” tempo to slower sludgy parts with low vocal growls that remind me of Pantera.  The band sounds tight and the record is well produced.  If you’re a fan of this type of music and you’re looking for something off the beaten path, I suggest you pick up this record, you won’t be disappointed.  - J Castro 

Andy Human & The Reptoids – Sarcastic 7” (Goodbye Boozy)
Listening to Andy Human & The Reptoids is like watching a drunken hobo walk down a busy street. Sometimes it goes steady and straight forward, other times it veers off and becomes quick tempered, throwing violent punches in midair unexpectedly.  On top of everything else you watch as they come catastrophically close to stumbling into oncoming traffic.  That’s what makes bands like this, Sick Thoughts and Buck Biloxi & The Fucks so great; danger and unpredictability.   The Reptoid’s music encapsulates all of this and it rocks pretty hard in a late 70’s Killed By Death sort of way.  If you want danger back in your modern punk rock, accept no substitutes.   - J Castro 

Andy Human & The Reptoids – Pee Pee 7” (Goodbye Boozy)
Oakland’s Andy Human & the Reptoids keep the KBD ’77 lo-fi punk alive. My favorite track is “Punk Are Cops.” This song has a little more energy and Dickies feel than the others. The vinyl has 4 songs, but the tape looks to have 7 songs. All songs recorded live in the practice space to keep the lo-fi ethic. – Ed Stuart

Beta Boys – Oh Wow!! Hard Rock Music!! I Love It!! 7” (Goodbye Boozy)
Super fast, super bratty punk rock from Olympia, WA.  Its like something crossed with FYP, The Rickets, Quincy Punx and all those other spazoid sounding punk bands of the 1990’s.  The guitars are pounded/strummed and lightning speed, the snot factor on the vocals is turned up to the maximum and the utility bucket drums are way off in the distance, furiously trying to claw their way closer to the action.  Well, what about the bass guitar you ask?  Bass? Beta Boys don’t need no stinkin’ bass!  This record was recorded in Kansas City, MO at some place called The Chum Bucket if that’s any further indication.  - J Castro 

Biznaga – Sentido Del Espectaculo LP (Slovenly)
Biznaga is a hard to nail down playing a little of everything from UK ’77-81 power-pop, punk, post-punk. Sentido Del Espectaculo is sung entirely in Spanish so I am a little lost in translation. The closest modern band I think of is Miscalculations or a quicker Television Personalities. The guitars are quick, trebly, designed for post-punk with a bassist and drummer who are clearly thinking punk.  – Ed Stuart

Booji Boys – ST LP (Drunken Sailor)
When I first looked at the record cover, I thought this might be another sleepy neo-psyche record, but thankfully I was wrong.  What I got instead from these Halifax, Nova Scotia boys is catchy, rip roaring, good time punk rock.  The music is loud, fun and totally devoid of pretention.  The one thing that’s odd to me is the production.  Its super soaked in reverb and has a really washed out feel, making it seem cold and distant.  I feel because of this, the songs don’t hit as hard as they could.  If they had more of a Rip-Off Records style production, like The Registrators did on their first LP this record would rule my school.  - J Castro

Brad Pot – S/T LP (Slovenly)
Wildly enjoyable record by this band of ornery Aussies.  These four guys put power behind their punches and land them on your face on pretty much every song on this record.  Brad Pot’s got this maniacal energy that instantly fills the room with anxiety.  For some reason, you don’t get that very much from new bands.  Usually it’s the old stuff that wields those forces into a weaponized form.  I don’t know if it’s just me because I’ve been listening a lot to this stuff lately, but I hear a lot of California bands in Brad Pot.  Stuff like The Weirdos, some Dickies and even some Screamers (minus the keys) in there.  Great stuff, I hope there’s more soon!  - J Castro 

Bullet Proof Lovers – Shot Through the Heart LP (Ghost Highway)
So I’m listening to this record and the first track is an intro to the song called “I Am My Radio” and it sounds like it may be a movie clip but in the back ground my heart sank as I heard one of my absolute most favorite pieces of music ever created by man; Tchailovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.  How can I not love this record already!  Luckily what followed wasn’t too shabby either!  It was no Swan Lake mind you but it held it’s own.  This is the Prince of Power Pop (aka Kurt Baker’s) band that he formed in Spain.   The Bullet Proof Lovers play really melodic, really catchy rock n roll.  They make it sound timeless and charismatic in a way very few people can these days.  - J Castro 

Casual – Grip The Grass EP (Self Released)
This New Jersey trio has quite a scrappy little gem on their hands here with this new EP.  It’s a melodic punk record that reminds me of the multitudes of punk pop bands in the 1990’s, but the better ones of course.  They do sound like fellow Jersey boys Bouncing Souls but a little more Descendants influence fused in there.  I liked this record so much I went and listened to their LP they released in 2014 on Dead Broke Rekerds and it’s really good too.  Even though the music does kind of put off a slacker with a heart of gold vibe, I think these guys are more savvy than they let on. 
 - J Castro 

The Cavemen – Death Row 7” (Slovenly)
3 songs of savage PUNK Rock N’ Roll delivered mean and sweaty directly from Auckland New Zealand!  These guys do the grimy Dead Boys bit with an even more macabre twist, which I didn’t even know was possible until now.  The guitars are front and center with that blown out, smoldering amp sound as if they’ve been screaming for hours and are now running on their last bit of wiring.  The sings does bare similarities to ole Stiv but I also hear some Lux Interior in the delivery too at times.  Standout track, if I HAD to pick one that is, would probably be “Dog on a Chain” which features cool guy/girl call and response style vocals.  - J Castro 

The Chinchees – S/T LP (Dirt Cult)
Is Minneapolis becoming a power-pop, punk-pop hotbed? Private Interests, Lutheran Heat, Nervous Talk and now Chinchees. Maybe the trick is the harsh winters force you to hone your craft because you cannot or will not go outside. “Boys, it’s minus 10 out, so I’ll guess you’ll have to listen to your favorite records again.” It might not be Canada, yet, but we are heading in the right direction. Chinchees are not as classically power-pop as the others. The S/T is more Marked Men with their foot off the gas and a touch of ‘80’s catchy college rock choruses like Superchunk. Originally, this LP was a self-release, but looks as if Dirt Cult is re-releasing it.  – Ed Stuart

CJ Ramone – American Beauty LP (Fat Wreck)
To say CJ Ramone is heavily influenced by Ramones would be like saying Old McDonald had a farm. American Beauty is CJ doing what CJ does best, writing Ramones influenced punk-pop. He’s in full Ramones range from the heavier Too Tough To Die era like on “Girlfriend in a Graveyard” to a tinder tribute to Tommy on “Tommy’s Gone” to “Steady As She Goes,” which could features on earlier Ramones LP’s. CJ is a soldier, both as an ex-Marine and as a member of the Ramones touring machine for seven years. He isn’t as much of a solo artist as one who pays continual homage to his heroes, friends, family and biggest musical influences who turned out to be the most iconic punk band ever.  – Ed Stuart

Cocktails – Hypochondriac (Alien Snatch)
Alien Snatch adds yet another gem to its catalog with San Francisco’s Cocktails.  Cocktails doesn’t sound like what I’ve been used to hearing from this long running German label, these guys play some fairly mellow tunes that straddles the wall between power pop and indie rock.  It’s not noisy or dreary like a lot of indie rock or shoegaze at all, the music has got a definite snap to its step but it glides down your ear canal, it doesn’t clumsily tumble or race down your to your inner ear.  It’s very well produced, the guitars sound fresh and the vocals are Sunday morning crisp.  This kind of production does this style of music justice.  Superb record all around - J Castro

Control Freaks – Mindless Entertainment LP (Slovenly)
Finally after about a year of floundering around playing the We’re Loud Fest in old Mexico and Gonerfest last year, Greg Lowry and his new band of merry malcontents get it together enough to actually release a record.  Don’t get me wrong, it was worth the wait, oooh was it worth the wait.  For anyone that was around to hear Supercharger, The Rip-Offs, The Infections, Zodiac Killers etc back in the 90’s you’re going to want to take this record off the player after hearing the first song and rub it against your bare naked chest before playing the rest of it.  That’s how good it is.  And with that I shall make my exit. - J Castro

DANA – S/T LP (Heel Turn)
Columbus, Ohio’s Dana takes a lot from Captain Beefheart, Electric Eels and improvisation. Dana is sounds like a band jamming out ideas and willing to go where the inspiration takes them. Punk, soul, noise wrapped in a lo-fi package.  – Ed Stuart

Direct Hit – Domesplitter LP (Fat Wreck)
This is not the follow up to last years Wasted Mind. Domesplitter is re-recorded versions of songs, which first appeared on the band early EP’s, and were chosen by fans. According to Direct Hit’s singer, a lot of these early songs were issued on the Internet directly to fans when the band was a much smaller. Now that you have the history of the release, what does it sound like? Direct Hit play a fast up-tempo Midwestern brand of pop-punk that doesn’t break any new pop-punk territory. In their defense, how many pop-punk bands are known for breaking genre boundaries? Direct Hit has all the hallmarks, “Whoa-ohs,” group sung choruses, tongue-in-cheek lyrics about pop culture topics all over a non-stop driving beat. – Ed Stuart

Dirty Nil – Minimum R&B LP (Dine Alone/Fat Wreck)
First off all, I will agree with Dirty Nil that this LP is Minimum R&B. This LP is neither an ode to The Who or other ‘60’s UK bands. Minimum R&B is a compilation of previously singles, an old EP and other tracks. Dirty Nil, from Hamilton, Canada, play a loud rock with raspy vocals steeped in ‘90’s alternative, that has the mellow verse, heavy chorus songwriting pattern used so repeatedly in that decade.  – Ed Stuart

Dopamines – Tales Of Interest LP (Rad Girlfriend)
It’s been five years, since the punk world has last heard form the Dopamines. As with other aging, yes, punk bands age too, punk bands other things take a little more priority than hashing songs. As the Dopamines put it, “fams before hams, careers before beers.” Tales of Interest is the LP that has re-announced them to the punk world. Dopamines still have the Midwestern Dillinger Four meets a touch of Jawbreaker pop-punk with group sung choruses and sometimes verses. Tales sounds little heavier and angrier, maybe it’s the careers, which don’t often turn out, as you would like. Dopamines are one of a handful of bands re-emerging to do what they do best.  – Ed Stuart

Empty Lungs – Don’t Get It EP (Hidden Pony)
Belfast’s Empty Lungs are dancing on the line between punk and indie, but seem to favor the indie side of town a little more. The opening track, “Don’t Get It” is the punkest the band gets with distorted guitar and overlapping vocals. “Losing It. Finding It,” sounds like the radio single of the bunch. It definitely has more indie feel with the guitar intro reminiscent of early Strokes, a verse that heads into Pixies/Vaccines territory and a melodically sung chorus. The last “Fragile,” has a more of a ‘90’s alternative feel with bass driven rhythm for a quiet verse and a less quiet verse. This band has already been on big shows and Don’t Get It won’t slow them down. – Ed Stuart

Escobar – Bird of Prey LP (Beast/I Love Limoges)
First off, let’s go ahead and start with the record’s cover art.  That glorious, eye popping cover art.  This has got to be cover art of the year for me, hands down, no one has even come close yet.  Escobar’s are not just a pretty picture to place prominently on your records shelf though.  These French Rock N’ Rollers do it up dark and intense.  This is a killer record, filled with anxiety driven, hook filled garage punk.  It sounds a lot like of one of my all-time favorite bands: Albuquerque’s The Drags.  At times Escobar has that same maniacal, high strung urgency in their songs that if you’re not in the right frame of mind could probably drive someone straight into the mouth of madness.   
- J Castro

Face To Face – Say What You Want 7” (Fat Wreck)
I think it’s safe to say, Face To Face is a staple in the pop-punk world. In the ‘90’s, they turned up the speed and kept the melody that a lot of later bands were heavily influenced by. It’s been twenty-five years since the band released Don’t Turn Away on Fat. After leaving the Fat nest, last year the band returned with it’s ninth LP, Protection. Fat recently bands re-released and re-mastered the band’s first three LP’s. Say What You Want is Face To Face playing their brand of melodic up-tempo pop-punk that they have been doing for years.  – Ed Stuart

FNU Clone Inc. – Binary or Die LP (Total Punk)
Imagine Los Microwaves, The Spits, synth-punk, punk, hardcore all mixed into one musical blender and you might be close to FNU Clone Inc.. Jim V, the mastermind behind FNU Ronnies, is behind/responsible for this madness. On paper the recipe is, don’t be complex, write simple songs, record basic punk band instruments and add musical textures with reckless abandon. Yes, this on Total Punk, but it’s a little bit of a departure for even them. – Ed Stuart

The Fox Sisters – Stuck on You 7” (Self Released)
Rochester, New York’s premier party starters are back with two more tunes of sweat soaked Soul.  Yes, this 7” only has 2 songs, but that’s really all you’ll need to turn a sleepy soiree into a swingin’ shindig that will live on in your town as myth and legend.  The A-Side and title track is a quick tempo, fast and fun ditty that will make you want to attack the dance floor with a twist action fury.  The B-Side is a song called “Yeah Yeah” and it slows things down a notch but the guitars blaze up with a hook so hot it’ll grab you by the throat and leave scorch marks around your neck.  If you like old style Mod/Northern Soul these cats got have got your number.   - J Castro

Gee Tee – Thugs In Cars 7” (Goodbye Boozy)
The first time I listened to Thugs In Cars it went by before I got a taste. Second time, I’m thinking Gee Tee are the Australian version of Redd Kross, “Annette’s Got The Hits” era. “Thugs In Cars” is a Saints style rocker, but the other three are nothing like it. Gee Tee plays itself as lazy and dumb, but they are neither because the songs are too melodically smart. A lot of this reminds of Rodney in The Roq comps. The singer is disaffected and pseudo-dumb like a lot of early So-Cal punk, think Simpletones. For a band that doesn’t seem to be trying, they do a good job at writing simple catchy songs that are perceived as dumb just like Redd Kross and Ramones did. – Ed Stuart

Good Time Aussie Bogalers – A Slab of Liquid Cunt LP (Blak Skul)
Fast, heavy, punishing punk/speed metal band from Australia. Good Time Aussie Bogalers aren’t very happy and the music reflects it. Short Napalm Death style/early Earache thrash to channel your rage.  – Ed Stuart

Hollerado – Born Yesterday LP (Royal Mountain)
Hollerado’s third LP, Born Yesterday, is a good combo of ‘80’s college and early ‘90’s alternative much like early Supergrass, Thermals, Weezer, early Vaccines and indie based power-pop. Unlike 111 Songs, which actually had 111 songs, Hollerado sticks to eleven tracks on this LP. Hollerado, the key guys behind Royal Mountain, is writing their most pop LP of their career with some of the heaviest lyrics of their career too.  Songs like “Brick Wall” are more first LP Weezer territory, while “Born Yesterday” leans more towards Thermals/Vaccines punkish-alt-pop. The only track that really varies from the indie-pop milieu is “Grief Money” which seems very Gang Of Four influenced. Hollerado is another in a long list of bands that are grounded in a style, but not afraid to shy from real pop influence. – Ed Stuart

Hot LZ’s – Aggravate My Mind LP (Hate Street)
Graduates from the Humpers/New Bomb Turks punk rock n’ roll university, Hot LZ’s are doing the alma mater around and keeping the gunk rock going. Fast, raw, full of attitude, and pissed off punk that even pulls from Candysnatchers and Angry Samoans territory. Aggravate My Mind is the debut LP and a good reminder of how ‘90’s punk rock n’ roll, by way of ’77, was and still is when played right. Hot LZ’s are a Cleveland meets New York and Detroit party with the NY Dolls, Dead Boys, Pagans and Stooges all invited.  – Ed Stuart

Jim and The French Vanilla – Afraid Of The House LP (Dirtnap)
In some ways, this LP is like Robert Rodriguez directing an art film, but adding his violent style into it. You’re not sure at first where it’s going, but you keep watching to see how it unfolds. Afraid Of The House defies easy categorization. Jim has crafted an LP that is parts dirty garage, “Take It To The Grave,” college rock/’90’s alternative, “Back Home,” and lo-fi post-punk on “Eye for an Eye.” Jim is Jim from Blind Shake and The French Vanilla includes his brother Mike, also from Blind Shake, helping his brother out. Afraid Of The House is the band’s third LP and first electric offering, but probably not the last chapter in the Vanilla story.  – Ed Stuart

Kitchen People – Trendoid LP  (Oops Baby)
I hate to sound like a pretentious prick, but when you listen to enough records you can usually tell within the first 10 seconds of the first song weather or not you’re going to like the record you’re listening too or not. For this record, I heard the first 5 seconds of Trendoid and I knewI was in for something exceptional.  It’s wild, weird, catchy and bounces all over the room like out of control Flubber.  It sounds like a cross between that 90’s band Le Shok mixed with the Dickies (what ever happened to Le Shok anyway?!)  That’s just a tiny taste of what Kitchen People have done on this record.  Fabulous, I can’t get enough of it!  - J Castro

Las Munjitas Del Fuzz – Es el 69 b/w Sor Cassandra 7” (Slovenly)
One of the things I absolutely love about Slovenly Recordings is that you never quite know what you’re going to get when you gently lay that slab of round wax on your turn table and move that arm down into position.  As the record starts spinning I always just stand there and stare at it with high anticipation as to what is about to either ooze or blast out of my speakers.  This time around with this record from this Spanish band who also like to dress up as Nuns apparently, we got some 1960’s Monks style lo-fi garage rock n roll.  It’s catchy, it’s crazy and it’s sung in Spanish.  Is it essential, no probably not but it sure is fun to listen to!   - J Castro

Liquids – More Than A Friend EP (Drunken Sailor)
When reading about the Liquids, previous wordsmiths had them pegged as lo-fi hardcore, but after listening to More Than A Friend, I would them as a lo-fi Kids. For parts of “Physical Demands” and “XxxXx,” it almost sounds pre-Milo Descendents. The Liquids are a pretty prolific band releasing as many tapes as there are days in the week. There is probably a new EP ready by the time I finish the review. Drunken Sailor has been a hot streak and The Liquids are keeping the streak alive.  – Ed Stuart

Makeovers – Try Me LP (Heel Turn)
This South African duo fires out short thunderous blasts of fuzzed up, herky jerky punk tunes like their lives depended on it. The Makeovers also have quite a work ethic as well, this is like their 16th or so release.  The songs on this record are OK, most of them didn’t stick to my brain because they lack a distinct/memorable hook.  The record pretty much blended together no matter how much I listened to it.  If you’re a fan of The Oblivians, Reatards etc. you’ll love this.  I always thought Jay Reatard’s recorded music was just kind of ok, it was live where I think he really shined and that may very well be the case for The Makeovers as well.  - J Castro

Mama – Eye In The Sky EP (Maximum Pelt)
Mama are a great band.  Period.  One of the best around at the moment in my opinion and this record just adds to my testimony.  Yeah, they play a brand of power pop but their music has a touch of Thin Lizzy guitar girth to it which makes it meatier to the taste so it can stick to your guts more.  Their songs also have remnants of Real Kids, Radio Birdman and DMZ thrown in as well.  I know what you’re thinking now, that it sound too good to be true and that I must be embellishing right?  Oh no my friends, I can assure you, Mama is real and it’s alive and laying waste to Chicago as we speak!   - J Castro

Manatees – Superman Damn Fool LP (Blak Skul)
I don’t know much about this band other than the fact that they were (or are still perhaps) from Memphis and that this is a collection of their 7”’s they put out between 2012 thru 2014 and that they’re pretty bad ass.  The lyrics are pretty divers yet on the oddball side at times, subjects include needing to get more cat food from the perspective of the famished feline and finding sanctuary from this cold harsh world in a treehouse.  It’s recorded a bit on the lo-fi side but the music is melodic and hard hitting as if it came from Australia in the late 1970’s,  it definitely brings to mind The Saints and Fun Things at times.  There are a couple of spaced out bizarre clunkers in here but for the most part this record is pretty solid stuff.   - J Castro 

Me First and The Gimme Gimme Gimmes – Rake It In: Greatest Hits LP (Fat Wreck)
I’m not really sure what to write that will give you new information on the Gimme Gimmes. Me First and The Gimme Gimme Gimmies, a punk rock super-group cover band, that has put out seven LP’s, usually with a theme (country, 80’s, show tunes, etc.) with members of Lagwagon, NOFX, Foo Fighters and Swingin’ Utters. On Rake It In: Greatest Hits, The Gimmes have chosen songs from their better “hits” to lesser know ones from 7-inch releases years ago. The Gimme Gimmes have been at this game for over twenty years. Rake It In gives the listener a wealth of covers played at punk speed, which gives an older, and sometimes tired, song a new twist when played by a punk band.  – Ed Stuart

Moral Panic – S/T LP (Slovenly)
There are so many outstanding records that have come out this year already that I can easily count them in my all-time favorites.  This debut from NYC’s Moral Panic is no exception, in fact it’s one of the crown jewels.  It’s got a couple of dude’s from the Livids, a band that met its demise far too soon if you ask me, but it’s hard shed a tear after hearing this!  Moral Panic isn’t reinventing the wheel here or anything, this is a pretty straight forward punk record.  The hooks are tremendous, the bass and drums all thunder away in attack formation, and Daniel Kelly’s stout yet melodic vocals lead the charge to what I’m sure is destined to be a modern classic in the genera.  - J Castro 

Napalmpom – Core Competencies of Napalmpom LP (Teenage Rampage)
Napalmpom has never been one to shy away from the guitars driving the bus and this new LP is no different. Core Competencies of Napalmpom showcases Napalmpom duel guitar attack like a fine fencing match or championship tennis match. Riffs are being lobbed back and forth throughout. The influences are 1970’s rock from Thin Lizzy to ‘70’s era Who (especially on the “Watch It Burn” intro) to ‘70’s rock radio and many more in between. The edges are a little cleaner this time like a rocker getting his hair cut for a job without losing the internal spirit.  – Ed Stuart

New Trocaderos – New Trox EP (Self Released)
If you read our humble little blog with any frequency at all, you know how much I adore the New Trocaderos.  They’re a great band that consists of Kurt Baker, and a couple of ruffians from the Connection, Kris Rogers and Rick Orcutt, all of which are super talented musicians and songwriters on their own.  Now put them together and add the song writing talents of one Mr. Michael Cheny and you’ve got something really special on your hands.  The New Trocaderos play fantastic music that takes a little from every golden era of Rock n Roll, mixes it up into something new and serves to you in a unique, enduring style.  - J Castro

Nobodys – Hussy LP (Rad Girlfriend)
The Nobodys have been up to more in the last couple years than they have in the past fifteen. First, they have released their new LP, Hussy. Second, the bar, the singer owns and operates, had a makeover on an episode of Bar Rescue. Nobodys were last seen as part of the Hopeless roster with their Less Hits More Tits LP in 2001. Nobodys play a pop-punk rock n’ roll. It’s like the Queers meets AC/DC. Hussy showcases the band’s brand of raunchy punk rock n’ roll with lyrics that in the late ‘90’s would have been passed off as juvenile. Now in the age of micro-aggressions someone is bound to get offended. Let’s be honest the Nobodys aren’t looking for marriage, they want to party, get girls and have fun over a sound track of raunch n’ roll. – Ed Stuart

Phantom Head – S/T LP (Blak Skul)
Phantom Head is from Kansas City and according to a few sources a staple of the local KC scene. Phantom Head features members of Mentira, Meat Mist and Burial Teens. On S/T, Phantom Head is laying down some heavy stoner rock grunge rock riffs for those lengthy afternoons when you a lot of time on your hands. Phantom Head does channel some Sabbath to keep the rock alive and the pace comfortable.  – Ed Stuart

Phone Jerks – Can’t Stand the Maritimes 7” (Goodbye Boozy)
You can tell what you’re in for just by looking at the front cover of this record.  You see how the picture is black and white?  You see the attitude in the way all the band members are standing around the phone booth?  This is a strong indication that it’s going to be a superb lo-fi garage punk 7” that would have fit nice and snuggly in the Rip-Off Records roster back in the labels salad says.  Thankfully I wasn’t wrong and this record rocks in a mighty fierce way, in fact none of the songs on this New Brunswick quartet’s record clock in at over 2 minutes! There is something about this kind of music that always sounds relevant and never dated.  - J Castro 

Private Interests – Only For A Moment LP (Pinata)
Yes, yes and yes. I admit it, I was late to the Private Interests party, but I got inside before the party ended and am sure glad I did. After listening to Only For A Moment, it’s easy to see why the band and this release are receiving high accolades. Private Interests feature members of Mystery Date and Cozy and hail from Twin Cities, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minneapolis. Private Interests play an edgier, rough around the edges Buzzcocks/Undertones/Protex through their Midwestern filters. It’s gritty, poppy, guitar driven punk-pop with melodic leads that last for days.  – Ed Stuart

Protex – Tightrope LP (Bachelor)
Just on the off chance you’ve never heard of Belfast’s Protex before let me just mention that they are absolutely essential listening if you like late 70’s punk bands like Buzzcocks, lablemates The Undertones or ever The Boys, The Jam, The Vibrators, Generation X, you get the picture.  Not only is this (NEW!!) recording of (NEW!!!) material  KILLER it sounds like it came out in 1978!  I had to triple check that it came out this year.  These guys didn’t miss a beat, let me tell you.  They didn’t go in an experimental direction, they went and did what they know, what they do best and did it yet again with magnificent results.  Even the record’s production gives it a similar feeling to their other, earlier releases.   - J Castro 

Raincheck – True Love EP (KROD)
When you’re ready, there is a fresh batch of melodic hardcore from the crew over at KROD, this time being Raincheck. Raincheck is members of No Guts No Glory, Burst One’s Side, Never Again and Guerilla Poubelle. True Love reminds me of Propagandhi with bits of Lifetime. It’s quick, energetic like an action movie. Sometimes, you wonder the scope of influence, but when you listen to Raincheck, from Lyon, France, you can hear a lot of those ‘90’s Fat and hardcore bands throughout.  – Ed Stuart

Real McKenzies – Two Devils Will Talk LP (Fat Wreck Chords)
I’ve heard this band’s name before but I’ve never actually heard them until now.  They’ve been together since 1992.  These guys are from Vancouver and play the Dropkick Murphy’s, Flogging Molly type Celtic Punk thing.  It’s pretty good too, its hard hitting and the songs have a soaring, epic feel to them.  They don’t come off as being Dropkick doppelgangers or anything, after all they’ve been around as long as those guys have.  Singer Paul McKenzie (the only consistent member throughout the bands existence) sings with a genuine passion and earnestness you can’t help be taken with and admire.   - J Castro 

Rinehearts – Try Your Luck 7” (No Front Teeth)
The addition of Rinehearts to the No Front Teeth roster is yet another example of why this record label has become absolutely vital to contemporary underground music.  Rinehearts play jangly power pop with a black biker jacket strut.  They’re switchblade rebels with tender hearts.  Even though this band is grounded in the here and now, I can’t help but be reminded of Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps or Buddy Holly and the Crickets when I listen to this record.  The tunes radiate with glowing guitar hooks and captivating vocal melodies are bulging at the seams.  The lyrics are mostly about love and relationships but they’re well written, not clumsy or cliché by any means.  If we had a rating system this EP would be all aces!  - J Castro

Slimy Member – Ugly Music for Ugly People LP (Drunken Sailor)
I know the punk rock guitar honors we usually honor are Thunders, Jones, Chrome and others along those lines, but a case really needs to be made for Ron Emory (T.S.O.L.) and Rikk Agnew (Adolescents/D.I.). Sure there is California bias, but it was a heavily influential scene. So, what does this guitar talk have to do with Slimy Member?  Slimy Member pulls from early T.S.O.L. and early Christian Death taste for the dark underbelly of punk. Slimy Members captured that early period were punk and goth weren’t estranged family members, but still on speaking terms. The guitar sounds pioneered by both Agnew and Emory are alive and out front on Ugly Music for Ugly People. – Ed Stuart

The Spookies – (Sorry Baby) I Fell Asleep 7” (Goodbye Boozy)
Wow, Spookies have really nailed the songwriting, production and guitar sound of the late ‘60’s. Spookies sounds like it was unearthed from a pile of lost ‘60’s singles. Spookies are ex-Mojomatics and Miracle Workers that have been toiling for a few years in the Portland waters. Both songs on (Sorry Baby) I Fell Asleep have a psych fuzz sound and melody that brings you right back to the Nuggets captured decade. – Ed Stuart

Steel Chains – Steel Chains EP (Dirt Cult)
Portland’s Steel Chains play a melodic punk that relies more on minor chords and a touch of melancholy. They sound like a female-fronted Wipers playing a darker punk-pop. Steel Chains features members of Clorox Girls, Observers, Defect Defect and other Portland bands. Last year, Steel Chains made a demo which caught the attention of a lot of ears both in the US and abroad. One of those ears was Dirt Cult, who offered the band to follow-up with a 7-inch.  – Ed Stuart

Sweet Things – Love to Leave 7” (Spaghetty Town)
You can almost smell the cigarette smoke and the Jack Daniels spilled on the wood floors when you play this record!  NYC’s Sweet Things unleash a form of Rock n’ Roll that I haven’t heard done this well for a really long time.  Boozy Blues mixed with Outlaw Country and cut with a healthy dose of some seriously sleazy Glam Rock and you’ve got yourself a bonafide Rock n Roll hurricane. Sweet Things reminds me a lot of late 80’s bands like Dogs D’Amour, London Quireboys and Faster Pussycat who all took cues from The Stones and Johnny Thunders.  Magnificent record, I have quite the soft spot for music like this.  My only complaint: only two songs!  - J Castro

Tommy and The Rockets – Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrecking Machine (Ghost Highway/KOTJ/Beluga)
Another 3 songs of fun, sun soaked Rock N Roll from Tommy and The Rockets!  Reading some of the other reviews for this record, everyone in one way or another describes this record as having a “timeless” feel to it and I totally agree.  It’s not 77 bile spewing punk talking about upping the system or anything.  But if you can’t appreciate a record like this, then you have no business listening to punk rock.  This is the kind of music punk was based on.  The Beach Boys, Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers this is the kind of music the Ramones listened to.  Good Punk Rock is just Rock N’ Roll at heart, the poser garbage isn’t, time to pick you teams.  - J Castro

Various Artists – Do You Remember Punk Rock Comps? LP (Hidden Home)
Hidden Home does a pretty good job covering punk-pop, ska-punk and some melodic hardcore on their label sampler/compilation, Do You Remember Punk Rock Comps? Comps are bit like a musical Hometown Buffet and tonight’s menu includes Wicked Bears, Urban Outfielders, Ginger Spice, Young, Planetary and many more. Each band gets two songs to strut it. The title is an obvious nod to the Ramones, the arguable godfathers of punk-pop and the most imitated/influential punk band. Most of the bands on this comp are Ramones descendents played like a ‘90’s Fat Wreck band.  – Ed Stuart

The Virus – System Failure LP, EP or 7” (Evacuate)
In last few years, a lot of punk bands have come back from the dead like a zombie attack and put out new records. The Virus is another band to do just that. System Failure is the Virus new LP, the follow up to 2004, Nowhere To Hide. Politically, this is a good time for street punk/political punk to come back in full force. The Virus songwriting style hasn’t changed for those who might be worried. System Failure is full of charged UK ’82 GBH, Exploited, Blitz, with no shortage of lyrical topics to sing about. – Ed Stuart

Warsong – Control LP (Dirt Cult)
Spanish punk sung entirely in Spanish from ex-members of No Escape and Insomino. Warsong play a mid-tempo dark wave punk like the Wipers with a lot of single note guitar leads. I find the leads have more common with post-punk and OC bands like D.I.. Control, the band’s third LP, is pretty steady in it’s 8-song melodic punk attack, which doesn’t waver throughout. – Ed Stuart

Western Addiction – Tremulous LP (Fat Wreck Chords)
This San Francisco band return with their second LP.  Their sound can only be described as melodic hardcore.  The tempos are fast, the vocals are gruff and the guitars are meaty.  Western Addiction are a bit different from their Fat peers in the fact that yes, they have similarities to the “definitive” Fat sound from yesteryear but they don’t have those harmonious “oohs” and “aahs”  in the choruses.  These guys just burn hard and fast.  This is the kind of music that makes me wish I owned a hot rod so I can crank this record up and drive 80MPH down the I-10.  But unfortunately my Corolla will only go so fast and doesn’t quite do the trick.  - J Castro