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ISSUE 82 REVIEWS!!!!!!

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ISSUE 82 REVIEWS!!!!!!
TIS THE END OF 2007 AS WE KNOW IT ... NOW HERE'S SOME REVIEWS!!!
ISSUE 90/91 RECORDING REVIEW
ISSUE 118/119 Recording Revus
Issue 138 Streams N Demos (Narrow Waves)

Here are the reviews from the latest print issue.  This is not meant to replace the print version but to help offer another place for reviews.  Also included will be some web exclusive reviews of recordings and stuff. 

AD ASTRA PER ASPERA - "Catapult Calypso" CD
 
I've been meaning to get to this one for some time but too many things got in the way for me to do so. The lastest from the Lawrence quintet continues their sonic journey that turns post HC into an avant rock free for all. Basically guitar driven but using keyboards and various percussion instruments as well, the songs carve a unique aural space that filters post psychedelic elements as well as pure experimentalism while keeping the feel in rock. It also focuses on the band's more melodic elements, which restrains thedissonance of their live shows somewhat but doesn't totally kill that element of the band. On this album Ad Astra Per Aspera manage to avoid a lot of modern underground rock cliches and come up with a catchy album that, in a just world, would get far more recognition than it probably will. Check this album out. (BOONE)
 
ARI ARI - "Movements" CDEP
 
Got this when I saw the band at Lemp a while back but didn't have time to really check this disc out until recently. This is grinding post HC punk where fast beats and buzzsaw guitars meet sleek moog bass lines and produce fairly energetic personal leaning songs that are as far from the emo prison as you can get. While the ingredients may seem to clash, what emerges from this clash are powerful and even catchy at times. It's not everybody's cup of sake but Ari Ari managed to create a disc that can appeal to both punk rock kids and the artsy crowd (though probably for different reasons). Definitely worth picking up if you're interested in learning about this band and their art during their brief lifespan. (BOONE)
(stupidariari.com)
 
THE BELLRAYS - "Have A Little Faith" CD
 
I know this has been out for a little while but I wasn't able to nab myself a copy of it until recently, so I'm telling you about it now. The latest from this band shows them exploring the blues/R&B elements of their sound. As such, the bass is taking more of a central role and the songs' grooves seem at times to take the place of the tear your face off guitar riffage. While the feel and vibe seem to have the emphasis here, it also helps to frame the rock side of the band more than ever with an intensity one has to hear to get. What emerges is a continuation of the Bellrays' soulful punk influenced rock that can get people to move but still doesn't hesitate to kick ass along the way. A damn good album from a band that will rock you. Not can, not might, THEY WILL ROCK YOU!!! (BOONE)
(cheaplullaby.com)
 
BLOWFLY - "Blowfly's Punk Rock Party" LP
 
This is one that had me curious from the moment I heard about it. As the title suggests, the latest from Blowfly finds the man who pioneered raunchy rap moving away from the soul and hip hop in favor of punk rock, tackling raunchy versions of punk chestnuts ("VD Party," "R Kelly In Cambodia" to name a couple of examples) as well as a few hard rock songs (you have to hear what he does with "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" to believe it). Lyrically, they pretty much go for the sexual and scatalogical in its sometimes raunchiest forms ; in other words typical Blowfly. Backed by a hard and heavy backup band, he manages to make the most of the material and manages to pull it off. There's also some "all ages radio edits" of some of the songs for those DJs (though the kids will certainly go for the "dirty" stuff). This isn't really stuff to take very seriously obviously but in its own way it's twisted fun in its own right. Funny, a little shocking, and worth checking out. (BOONE)
(Alternative Tentacles Records. P.O. Box 419092. San Francisco, CA 94141-9092. alternativetentacles.com)
 
ANI DIFRANCO - "Reprieve" CD
 
I got snowed in recently and after calling in at the paying job was sorting through some CDs and came across this. On her latest Ani takes the listener on a sonic journey through the human conditional that filters both the personal and sociopolitical. Often presented with minimal arrangements, the acoustic guitar and bass driven songs incorporate topics ranging from failing relationships to apathy to the environment to war et al directly and honestly. While some longtime fans may be a little shocked by how the songs are presented, Ani continues to take her music into different directions and continues to challenge after all these years. (BOONE)
(Righteous Babe Records. P.O. Box 95. Ellicott Station. Buffalo, NY 14205. righteousbabe.com)

DISASTER STRIKES - "Liberty Toast" LP
 
I came across this recently and was curious enough about it to pick it up. The latest from Disaster Strikes is punk that lives in the gray area between melodic hooks and pure HC fury. Aggro beats and ferocious guitars are the foundation for these songs about class struggle, the Bush administration, general strikes, education, and other topics viewed from an informed working class perspective. The resulting battle cries are dished out with no apologies and have enough energy to power a small city in the process. This album calls to mind the best of early 80s HC/punk without necessarily being mired in that current bands tend to make out of it. I wish I had heard of this band sooner. Get this now. (BOONE)
 
(Alternative Tentacles Records. P.O. Box 419092. San Francisco, CA 94141-9092. alternativetentacles.com)
 
THE HEADS - "Under The Stress Of A Headlong Dive" CD
 
Things had been pretty busy for a while for me so I hadn't had time to really go through the zine related stuff as much as I'd like. When I got around to reviewing this, I realized it was time to take care of things. The latest from this UK underground band is full of tweaked out rock songs that contain layers of overdrive over tight hooks that take the listener into the gray area between the acid rock side of psychedelia and pure noise rock. These raveups have a feel similar to late 60s era acid film soundtracks yet come across with a current feel that one has to hear to comprehend. Kudos to AT for getting to put this out here in the states – other than that listening to this would probably clarify more things than this review so check it out for yourselves. (BOONE)
 
(Alternative Tentacles Records. P.O. Box 419092. San Francisco, CA 94141-9092. alternativetentacles.com)
 
THE INDEPENDENTS - "Eternal Bond" CD
 
I picked this up when I saw the band live a while back but couldn't really get around to reviewing it until now due to the typical excuses (space constraints, backlog, etc). The latest from The Independents carries on the band's blend of punk, ska, and hard rock. Songs full of tight hooks, powerful guitar, and a shitload of energy are in full effect throughout this disc. Lyrically, the songs continue the horror/gore themes they're known for both for its own sake and, on occasion, as a metaphor to describe the darker side of human behavior (at least that's how I read it). As this band progresses, they've managed to transcend their influences to create something that, while familiar, makes it recognizably Independents. Another great record from these unsung legends; I have to say get this. (BOONE)
 
(Suki Records)
 
THE JOHNS - "In Tune" EP
 
It took me a while but I finally got around to checking this out and giving it a good listen. This quartet's EP is a showcase of armed for battle rock n roll with lots of crunchy punk coating surrounding it. The three songs here are full of tasty guitar, no frills delivery, and a ton of energy throughout. This might not be reinventing the wheel but the raw power here continues the legacy of punk rock at its best with tight songs and a knack for hooks. While much could be made of the band members' pasts, the debut EP from the Johns shows the band as its own creature with its own vision sonically. Fans of catchy as hell punk will want to check this out. (BOONE)
 
(Anko Records. P.O. Box 1799. Costa Mesa, CA 92628. ankorecords.com)
 
NAPALM DEATH - "Smear Campaign" CD
 
I've been waiting for the chance to review this in here since I got it a short while back; and that tie is now. This time around, Napalm Death continue their reign of the pioneers of grindcore but releasing an unrelenting sonic attack that continues the blend of grind/blast beats and death metal heft ND are known for. Lyrically they're tackling the theme of religion and its dark side as it affects us. Furious and angry, there is a power here that bursts through the speakers and demands a reaction. For anyone who's either into heavy music or curious about hoe far to get into it, this album is a must have. Now please excuse me while I got pick my jaw off of the floor. (BOONE)
 
(centurymedia.com)
 
SHONEN KNIFE - "Genki Shock!" CD
 
I've had some free time to catch up with the backlog I've had lately and finally got around to putting this on and checking it out (I tried much earlier but my portable CD player was on the fritz). Shonen Knife again builds on their legacy with a collection of songs that burrow into your soul and won't let go. Mixing up-tempo rockers with more introspective numbers, they sing of spam (the unwanted e-mail, not the meat), jeans, spiders, a world atlas, broccoli come to life and a lot more with an honesty that's as unique as they are catchy. Using the typical guitar, bass, and drums, this band manages to prove again that catchy rock n roll doesn't have to be limited in what to cover lyrically. Admittedly a lot of people are going to love or hate this album, but those who are already fans as well as those who are curious will find a lot to really dig about this album; and the band in general. 25 or so years and Shonen Knife are still going strong.  Definitely get this record. (BOONE)
 
(gluefactory.com)
 
SSM - CD
 
Everybody's had things happen to them that come without warning and take you by surprise. The debut from SSM is a swaggering sonic assault on the senses delivered via short, somewhat snide garage rock with definite overtones to punk woven throughout. With only drums, keyboards (I think both synths and organs) and guitars, this trio tears shit up with some attitude laden rocking songs that are as catchy as they are aggressive. If a lot of the bands on the Nuggets comps came of age influenced by noise rock/no wave music as part of their sonic palette, they probably would sound like SSM. AS I said at the beginning, some things come along and take you by surprise; listening to this was one such surprise. Surprises can be good. (BOONE)
 
(aliveenergy.com)
 
TURN ME ON DEAD MAN - "Technicolour Mother" LP
 
I've been putting this on a couple of times for casual listens before but I hadn't had time to really devote to a review of this - until now. Once again Turn Me On Dead Man explore the sonic limits, taking the listener along for the ride. Their trademark blend of spacey psychedelia and intense hard rock that borders on metal at times is in full force here with songs built on power chords, atmospheric keyboards, and various twists and turns along the way. TMODM have once again shown that psych/space rock can remain interesting and vital sounding when taken in the right direction. This is some good shit, I must say. (BOONE)
 
(Alternative Tentacles Records. P.O. Box 419092. San Francisco, CA 94141-9092. alternativetentacles.com)
 
THE TIPPER GORES - CD
 
I picked this disc up when I saw the band open for Fire Dog and Big Medicine at Mojo's a few months back. This local band's debut disc is full of country fried rock songs with a laid-back vibe simmering with an underlying tension. Personal in nature, the songs have an urgency that calls to mind both honky-tonk loneliness and longing and rock crunch. While some of the band's influences can be seen on their sleeves here, there is also a heartfelt delivery and enough potential to make their own mark within their style of music. Something about this band always seems to speak to me and this disc captures some of that energy. A good start from one of Columbia's more underappreciated local bands. (BOONE)
 
(No address; shit!)
 
UMBROS - "Super Mario Umbros 3" CD
 
I've been meaning to get to this one for a while not but between my paying job, other obligations, and attempts to have a life in between all this had kept me too busy to listen to this until now. The debut (I think) from Umbros dwells in using electronic programming beats mixed with live guitar and bass to create instrumental tracks that lie in the gray area between ambient electronica, noise rock, and neo psychedelic space rock. The emerging pieces are sometimes hypnotic, sometimes catchy but have an honesty and straightforwardness that appeals to listeners looking for something a little different. This disc is a good primer to finding out where Umbros are now and hints at the possible potential down the road. It's definitely worth checking out. (BOONE)
 
(myspace.com/theumbros for more info)
 
VARIOUS ARTISTS - "Das Kompilation" CD
 
This is one of those discs that I've been interested in for a while but have been unable to review until now. This disc is a compilation of local (and occasional regional) music that's presented via Ian Cogneato of the local access show Das Karnival (on CAT3). Bands range from the dance flavored indie rock of Shirelle C. Limes and the Lemons to the artsy pop of Foundry Field Recordings to the electronic music of Mark Speckman to the neopsych noise rock of Jerusalem and the Starbaskets to the power pop leanings of Paradise Vending and more. It's an eclectic experience that showcases what the area music scene has to offer. A good example of what goes on around here. I wonder if there will be any future volumes of this. (BOONE)
 
(Painfully Midwestern Records. painfullymidwestern.com)
 
DOWNLOAD OF THE ISSUE
 
Given the changing technology, music downloads off the Internet has become a major factor in how many people get their music. While there is a lot of controversy about this and how it will affect artists, one has to face that it is something to deal with. Thus we have decided to add this to the review section. If you're in a band and have any free music downloads (your own) that you want people to know about, clue us in.
 
THE STOOGES - "My Idea Of Fun"
 
Now normally I wouldn't recommend going to something related to Spin (or its website) for a download. However, when I heard about this, I had to check it out. This is a preview of a track from the new album by the Stooges (yes, you heard it right- those Stooges; as in Iggy and co.). This rave-up finds the band updating where they left off with a full on in your face punk rock assault built of wall of sound guitars and a snide attitude that kicks ass and takes names. Snotty and angry, this is proof that age has little to do with the punk attitude. I know this means having to go to Spin's website (I cringe at that as well), but in this case, it's definitely worth it to check this out.(BOONE)




VIDEO, DVD, YOU KNOW…

      Below are a handful of DVDs that we think you might find of interest.  If you’re a filmmaker and want us to see your film, get in touch with us or send a DVD and we’ll try to get to it. 

 

Don’t Need You: The Herstory of Riot Grrrl (dir: Kerri Koch)

      I’d been hearing about this documentary for a while, but didn’t know a lot about it.  Don’t Need You chronicles the herstory of the Riot Grrrl movement that arose from the punk rock scene of the early 1990s.  Detailing both the sexism in the scene that led to its emergence as well as those who helped bring the movement to fruition.  Mixing interviews with live footage and some clippings et al, this short film details the movement’s ups and downs as well as the press scrutiny and criticism that led to its alleged “implosion”.  Featuring interviews with those who were part of Riot Grrrl as well as the perspective of several punk legends not necessarily affiliated with the movement, the film’s only flaw was the brevity.  However, Koch and company helped reveal a comprehensive overview of a movement in punk that, in my honest opinion, didn’t nearly go as far as it should have.  (BOONE)

(urbancowgirlproductions.com)

I Know I’m Not Alone (dir: Michael Franti)

      This story seems almost unreal, if there wasn’t visual proof.  Musician Michael Franti (Michael Franti and Spearhead, Disposable Heroes of Hiphopracy) decided to learn about the human cost of war.  Armed with an acoustic guitar and a video camera, him and a group of friends visit Iraq, Israel, and Palestine to find how war and occupation has affected the average person in those regions.  Along the way his journey brings him in touch with everything from an Iraqi death metal band to doctors to families trying to survive to soldiers.  While some people would write this off as dogmatic or simplistic, Franti’s search for answers and attempts to bridge barriers adds a humanity and humility to the film and its subjects.  Far from a typical rock doc, Franti introduces us to people coping with varied situations and multiple points of view with some interesting results.  Openly aware and honest, this is a film that shuns the easy way out but makes what seems more difficult appear simple.  Check it out.  (BOONE)

(iknowimnotalone.com) 

We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen (dir: Tim Irwin)

      This is something I’ve wanted to get around to telling you about for a while (ever since seeing an early version of it at Ragtag in 2005), but couldn’t before now.  We Jam Econo chronicles the story of punk legends/renengades The Minutemen and their legacy.  From the first fateful meeting of two childhood friends (Mike Watt and D. Boon) who start jamming to discovering punk rock and realizing they could form a band and make records, it is a tale that plays against the grain of a culture that seems hell-bent on attacking them and a counter culture that both accepts and is confused by them as they recast punk in their own image.  Featuring interviews with bandmembers Mike Watt and George Hurley as well as those around at the time ranging from labelmates at SST (Joe Baiza, Dez Cadena, Henry Rollins) to punk legends they’ve crossed paths with along the way (Jello Biafra, Ian Mackaye, Spot) and a lot more, it unweaves a tale not just of a musical reaction to the excesses of both the music industry but a society that seemed too complacement but of a friendship that changed them, their musical ride, and what it led to along the way..  Minutemen fans know most of the basics here, but there’s so much more in this two DVD set that’s worth checking out from deleted scenes to the second disc’s three concerts (including an acoustic show).  If you’re already a fan, you might already have this; if you’re not pick this up and be surprised.  (BOONE)

BOOKS ET AL…

And Now For Something Completely Digital: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Monty Python CDs and DVDs

Alan Parker & Mick O’Shea

The Disinformation Company, Ltd.  184pp.

      I admit it – Monty Python is one of my main influences.  Ever since seeing The Meaning Of Life when I was 12, the British comedy troupe’s sense of humor has played a vital role in twisting my perceptions and making me the person I am today (though you shouldn’t hold that against them).  Needless to say when I heard about this book, I knew I had to nab a copy for myself.

      As the title suggest, this details the history of Monty Python’s recordings, films, and TV episodes over the years.  While it would merely be a reference book from this alone, Parker and O’Shea go further with stories of how the films and albums came to be.  The book also chronicles the history of Monty Python throughout their career, from their origins at Cambridge through the TV and movies with related anecdotes that are insightful and often hilarious to read (especially for Python fans).  The writing is informative and makes for a breezy read that will definitely appeal to those into Monty Python on some level, and possibly turn some people who don’t know onto them. 

      And Now For Something Completely Digital is a reference book- that much is true.  However, the writing is humorous enough to take it beyond the ordinary and make this something that may surprise the reader.  Yeah, I confess I’m biased but it is a damn good book.  (BOONE)

Indestructible

Cristy C. Road

Microcosm Publishing   90pp.

      I’ve been meaning to get to this book for quite a while but somehow it got lost in the inevitable backlog that happens when you do a (mostly) one-person zine; so when time finally became available I re-read this. 

      This book is a memoir of sorts, chronicling the author’s coming of age and the issues associated with it.  Intended to be an issue of Road’s zine Greenzine (but later turned into this book), it deals with issues as diverse as her Cuban-American heritage and the division between the cultural links and her leftist political awakening, the competition girls face against each other, love, acceptance, et al.  The result is a fairly simple read that takes you through the ups and downs of one person’s growing up from worries about love to the growing political consciousness to dealing with a friend’s terminal illness.  Where a novelist would wrap things up with the stereotypical boyfriend et al, Road wisely (and truthfully) avoids that route, in the end revealing the tradeoff between the loss of innocence and the gaining of perspective along the way. 

      The brevity of the chapters makes for a straight ahead read, calling her work as a zinester to mind.  The mix of art to compliment the prose along the way adds to the overall vibe.  Indestructible is one of those books that may not change the world per se, but it hopefully can change perceptions about growing up.  A damn good read.  (BOONE)

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