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Record Reviews

Published in Reglar Wiglar #11, 1998

The Obligatory Record Review Section Commonly Found in Many Music Related Publications, Thank You Very Much!

I thought this was pretty obvious to anyone who has ever actually read any of the "reviews" found in this "review section" in the past, but let me repeat my oft repeated warning/disclaimer: some of these obligatory record reviews may only make a passing reference to the artist or group of artists and are in no way intended as music journalism, i.e.: these ain't for the press kit. Write that down, Rockers.

40K CD EP (Stopped Clock)

What we have here, people, is a four song EP of hard edged, intelligent pop music made by... well, musicians. As worthy of radio play as any of the pop/pap your standard Match Box 20/Third Eye Blind brands are producing for the airwaves, but don't forget, there is no justice in the world—P.C. Jones

All Fall Down (Hopeless)

Against All Authority? Really? Against every form of authority ever, ever? OK, suit yourself, have a nice life. I believe in anarchy like I believe in atheism. I don't. Whether or not these issues need to be discussed in this forum is subject to debate, but not here.

Against All Authority or AAA is a politically charged hardcore band with equal parts ska thrown in 'cause that's how it's done these days. With anti-society songs and odes to skating AAA would like to see our entire society crumble 'cause pigs have been fuckin' with skaters for way too long, man. All right, I'm being a bit of a reactionary here. I got no beef with bands that aspire to make people think by pointing out the ills of our society (society definitely be illin') and hardcore has always been the preferred vehicle for the message (that and folk music). In this case it's the messenger not the message that I couldn't get with. But fuck it, more power to AAA. And not to say AAA believe this necessarily, but it bugs me when people confuse being hassled for skating with some kind of real oppression—Joey Germ

Over the James (Lookout!)

There are some rabid Avail fans out there, for sure. And this is in spite of not much press outside of zinedom. Hey, people dig their anthemic and thoughtful lyrical approach combined with the punk rock power chord structure. It makes for some fist pumping, sing along classics. Over the James doesn't sound like a drastic departure from this formula but it is going for a little more hard rock sound. It seems like Avail is trying to mix it up a little bit which is always a good thing, but to be honest, like some of their past records I've heard, I have a fairly low tolerance for it, but I'm wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt as I sit here and write this so go figure—Muggsy McMurphy

Mother's Day (no label)

Boy, I love me some hillbilly redneck music, and Booker Noe does it better than anybody. What with insurgent country and alternative-bluegrass music bein' so popular and whatnot, it's refreshing to hear some good old fashioned, down home, hillbilly redneck music. And not just hillbilly redneck music, but sweet, sweet hillbilly redneck music—Otis E. Lee

Frame & Canvas (Polyvinyl)

"One of the most prolific bands in the US," boasts their press kit and indeed it looks like Braid have been busy boys in the last three years with eight singles (four of them split singles), three LPs and a shitload of compilation contributions under their belts. They've also played close to 400 shows! They must be doing something right and I'll admit that this record grew on me a bit. There are a Chapel Hill influences and a little bit of a DC sound.

In a side note, there has been a gag order imposed on the music press from some PR people that in effect states that we are strongly discouraged from using the term "emocore" in our band descriptions and record reviews, etc. Otherwise, I might have thrown that descriptive label in there just to give you some point of reference. Of course, I exaggerate, but it's for effect so it's ok—Joey Germ

You're Feeling So Attractive (AmRep)

This sounds like kind of a '90s hard rock Smiths. No, not at all. I don't know where that came from. Sorry. Pretty frantic, noisy rock that's all over the place, you know, chaos. "Oh My Goth!" is a shoe-in for the 'Humorous Song Title Award' should such a category or award exist which is doesn't...yet—P.C. Jones

Always a Pleasure (DeSoto)

A sensitive, indie rock band from Milwaukee with some interesting musical shit goin' on. Not an unpleasant record to chill out to. I can't believe that last sentence just came out of my head but hey, it's raining and that does odd things to my brain. Track 11 (whose title is a little too long for me to include here although typing in that excuse took at least as long) is a little too over-the-top in the sensitive boy singer/guitar strummer sort of way, but I forgive them because the band photo on the back of the CD is funny. They look silly—Jayne Wayne

Sorry in Pig Minor (AmRep)

It all reminds me of the time I saw the Cows in Cincinnati one time a couple of years back. It was a great show, the bouncer pepper-sprayed a couple kids (and a fellow employee and some other people standing too close to the non-incident/altercation) in the pit for no real reason that I could see. After the show when the room had mostly cleared out, a friend of mine set his empty beer can on the ground and stomped on it in order to crush it so it would take up less room in the garbage can allowing the establishment the luxury of fitting more garbage into the bags, thus saving money and thereby ensuring that they would stay in business and continue to book quality acts like the Cows. Well, that crushed can shoots out from under old boys boot, sails across the room and hits Cows frontman, Shannon Selberg, right square in his ass. Well to get to the point of an otherwise pointless story, Shannon picked up the can and ran over and handed it back to my buddy so's he could put it in the proper trash receptacle. Which is funny because I thought for sure he was gonna pull out a 12 inch blade and gut us right then and there.

Anyway, if you've read this far and I don't blame you if you haven't, this is the Cows new record and if you like the Cows at all you should find some review of their record in a "real" music magazine, 'cause I'm no entomologist but I know what I like and I like the Cows, especially when they put out records—Joey Germ



A Secret History (Disturbing)

I'm not afraid to spell out the word cunts, mind you. In British slang, it is simply another way of calling someone an asshole. I'm gonna give these guys the benefit of your doubt and assume that's the origin of their name since, for one thing, these guys formed in 1977 at the height of the British Punk Rock Explosion, or whatever it was called, and for another thing they sing in fake British accents on the song "Chemicals in the Mail" and unlike bands like maybe a Green Day or a Rancid, for example, they are aware they're singing with fake British accents.

Yep, that's right, these bloody coonts have been 'round for twenty years and have released five albums of garage/punk rock on their own DYI label. This Secret History of is a collection of some of the better cuts off of those five albums released very sporadically over two decades. And while there may be nothing groundbreaking or earth-shattering in the twenty-one tracks on this record, it is definitely an enjoyable retrospective—Joey Germ

Lotushead (Botswana at Night)

The dish is back! I reviewed DND's last release issues ago (RW#7). If I remember correctly (or at all) they were the band that had the forty page press kit. Well the boys are back with a pared down, sleek, tight twelve page press package with a photocopy of every flyer they've ever made. We're gettin' there. And if these guys read their last review in these pages and are still sadistic enough to send me another release and think maybe I'll go easier on 'em this time around... woo boy, that's a bad bet.

Let me tell you why I'm not so privy to the Dish, 'cause they're one of those fun-lovin', musically adept, long-haired, pot smokin', genre-bending, funk punksters with traces of heavy metal. That's why. You're either with me or you're not—Scat in the Hat

Sampler (RoosterCow)

An odd recording to say the least. This is a collection of different vocal snippets, drum beats, guitar noodlings and other assorted tape manipulations. There are some Ween-like vocal effects on a Hüsker Dü song ("Too Far Down"), and what sounds like an Irish fireman talking about god-knows-what. Could be social commentary, perhaps this is a blue print for the coming apocalypse. Whoever is behind this madness needs to be investigated, possibly jailed—P.C. Jones

Songs for Cruising (Suburban Home)

Any band whose entire first track of their CD consists of someone's three second belching of Hi, We're the Fairlane" automatically gets my undying respect. I'm kidding, in fact, quite the opposite is true. But what do you expect from fun luvin' punk teenagers from Colorado (I'm gonna give them the benefit of the doubt that they are indeed tenny-boppers). Other than that I don't like them—Joey Germ

Getting Off (Leather/Western)

Getting off Scott Free... get it? Anyway, Getting Off is 13 songs of anger, betrayal, death and despair and one Bruce Springsteen song ("Streets of Philadelphia") served up in much the same manner. If you think this sounds a little frightening then you're right on the money, 'cause the whole album is one dark and bleak trip.

The subject matter of Scott Free's lyrics concerns AIDs dementia, paranoia, loss and real life pain from a gay man whose been through it. That being said and the message aside, the music is equally sobering. Every note, every instrument on this record was played by Scott and all the material on the CD was written by Scott except for the aforementioned Springsteen jam which Scott takes credit for embellishing on. All photographs on the CD cover, except for the one of Scott, were taken by Scott. My point is even though Scott's music, by the nature of it's subject matter, is very personal and he as an artist is somewhat self-obsessed, he could probably benefit from a little collaboration. It might make the record sound a little fuller, a little less one dimensional or maybe the point is he's the only one left who can tell the story—Jayne Wayne

Conglomerate International (Tooth & Nail)

Frodus is the band for the future, from the future. The technological revolution, the manipulation of the media, mind control, all the paranoid prophecies about the future of the human species, have all been made in an effort to prepare you for the Frodus. But before you go getting your undies in a bunch, remember, that's just the Frodus Conglomerate International PR machine trying to get me the "music critic" to use this zine (a medial tool) to manipulate you the consumer into thinking Frodus is on the verge of "world wide upheaval" and that "the Frodus Conglomerate International controls the hourglass." But if that's the last thing I can do to save the human race from the power hungry Frodus Conglomerate International, I must urge you to not buy this record. When robot slaves record the heroic deeds of humans in the waning days of the twentieth century, let my name be among them—Jayne Wayne

Live, Wet, Drippin' with Sexx (Big Dump)

I Love Rich is possibly a joke. If it is a joke, then I don't really get it. At the very least it's a joke that I've heard before but I didn't get then either. Well, it's not that I didn't get it, I got it, it just wasn't that funny.

This is a 'live' record that was recorded in Cambodia (heh, heh, a Third World country). As they mention in the accompanying press sheet, the band played Cambodia on their tour of the Middle East in front of thousands of screaming I Love Rich fans. That Cambodia isn't in the Middle East would hardly be worth arguing with these boys, I'm sure, BUT, once you push past that particular geographic error and push past the juvenile humor, and try to get beyond the generic punk rock music and the annoying overdubbed crowd noises, what you have then, ladies and gentlemen, is a CD—Joey Germ

All Original Members (DP)

Jabber...what to say about Jabber...Jabber sound like they're going for the big pop rock kill. The path taken by other bygone Chicago bands like Triple Fast Action and Loud Lucy. The problem is that if this is their gameplan, the production on All Original Members is a little lacking. Needs somethin', I'm not sure what, but I'm not in the advice business. I'm in the CD dissin' business—P.C. Jones

Great Adventure Cigar (Earache)

I'm gonna try to piece together the story of Janus Stark from the press materials provided. Janus Stark is Gizz Butt, Shop and Pinch (those are names). Janus Stark is a Superhero from an old Valiant comic book. Janus Stark used to be the English Dogs but the English don't like bands that degrade the English so there's an English law that says they couldn't be called the English Dogs so they were just the Dogs but I think there already was a Dogs so now they're Janus Stark. Gizz Butt is also in a band you might have heard of, they're called Prodigy and they're the future of music. All sorted then.

Gizz, Shop and Pinch are old school English punks who grew up on the Pistols, Buzzcocks and the lot like that. Their music is just as much metal as it is punk. It's a very produced, big riff guitar rock record that shows not just their punk influences, Sabbath and Motorhead are in there as well, It's got melody and a pop edge 'cause those Brits can not resist that shit. All in all, it ain't all bad, just a little too produced for my tastes. It ain't my cup of tea, but then again I don't drink tea and I ain't English—Muggsy McMurphy

Drunk with Power (Beluga)

The music from this disc pours out of the speaker like vomit from the mouths of "Indie Rockers" after drinking malt liquor with the "negroes"—Rob Turner, Special to the Reglar Wiglar 'cause he's special

Just Joined (Nitro)

When Jughead exacts his revenge upon his enemies the earth will tremble. Jughead's tumultuous soul is being torn by his insatiable thirst for revenge on those who have done him wrong: that red-haired, pug-nosed, back stabbing Archie; that sexy, yet treacherous femme fatale Betty and her teasing and tempestuous ways. Not to mention the luscious and curvaceous, yet evil Veronica...and Moose, don't get Jughead started on that fucking Moose guy. The repressed homosexual tendencies of Moose have made for more that one uncomfortable locker room encounter that strangely excited and repulsed Jughead, but all that will be taken care of when Jughead gets his revenge—Joey Germ

Caller of Friendships (eMpTy)

The Jam and Elvis Costello are called to mind on this Jr. High record. It's an attempt by a band to write good songs in the singer/ songwriter vein. No more punk sloppiness or grunge "I ain't even tryin'" half-assed stabs at "I don't really want to do this but I have to get this angst out" alternative rock. Just a singer strugglin' to hit the high notes that seem to hang just beyond his grasp. The attempt is made, nonetheless, and appreciated—Jayne Wayne

The Rebel's Not In (K)

The Halo Benders are celebrating the death of alternative rock and I'm right there with them. There is a strange interplay between the dual vocal acrobatics of Doug Martch (Built to Spill) and Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening) especially when the two are singing separate lines that kind of weave in and out of each other. Sometimes Calvin's baritone skirts the Crash Test Dummies line, but I don't dwell on it. All in all, a good way to celebrate the death of alternative rock—Jayne Wayne



Another One of Those Days (Suburban Home)

Hopeless Wonders would perhaps be a better band name. Hey guess what? Homeless Wonders are a pop punk band that incorporates horns to provide short bursts of ska into their songs. They have the ugliest CD cover I've ever laid my eyes on and a singer whose every note stomps on my last good nerve, but they're from Laramie, Wyoming so for some reason unbeknownst even to me, I'm gonna cut 'em some slack. Don't ask my why—Joey Germ

Painted Pictures (Mercury)

Imagine a rabid dog, insane, possessed by an unseen rage, grabbing this CD in it's foaming jaws, violently tearing and shredding. That is what I would like to accomplish with this review. This is the effect I would like to have on the audience reading this review: to feel so much sympathy for this band that they exclaim out loud, "Stop it! Damn it, can't you see they've had enough!—Joey Germ

#1 USA (K)

I simply must confess to really, really liking this L/A/L (Love as Laughter) band. They make sloppy, bluesy, lo-fi gold, baby. And if you've never heard of L/A/L before now, and I hadn't, then let me tell be the first to tell you that it is worthy of you going to your hip local record store and inquiring about it. That's about all I can say (that's all I'm gonna say at any rate)—Jayne Wayne

9 Step Program (no label)

Frankie Yankovich these guys ain't, but a good, solid Polka Band they is. Don't look for them to be headlining Milwaukee's Polka Fest this summer 'cause hardcore Polka purists are likely to take exception to the fact that these boys play their polka sans the accordion. Sacrilege you say? Yeah, I know, but these guys are polkaholics, man, they can't help it. They'd knock out polka riffs on a banjo and a washboard if that's all they had layin' around—Muggsy McMurphy

Polar Bear (Dry Hump)

So the Baby Polar Bear says to the Mama Polar Bear; "Hey Ma, are you sure I'm 100% polar bear?" and the Mama Polar Bear says, "Yeah, you're a purebred, Arctic Circle-walkin', glacier-climbin', seal-beatin', bear of the North Polar ice cap, why do you ask?" And the Baby Polar Bear says "'Cause I'm freezin' my ass off!" (Gotta give Jonathan Katz credit for that one.)

OK, I apologize for gettin' a little too cute there with that joke, but I get bored writing these reviews. Polar Bear is the reason Eric Avery couldn't join in on the Jane's Addiction reunion as he is the bass player for Polar Bear. This self-titled CD is five meandering tunes that aren't afraid, or just can't resist getting a little arty. It's nothing that made me sit up and say 'goddamn!', probably 'cause the record seems a little too produced and arranged and maybe just a little too thought about too much, which is not how I like my rock'n'roll but it has a certain ambient quality, or charm if you will—P.C. Jones

So Ends Another (Dubious Honor)

The beast of Rare Form rises again to record the "soundtrack for the destruction of the new world." I don't doubt it in the least. This is that grindcore music your mamma warned you about. This is extreme metal, not for the meek who shall inherit the earth, nor for the more pious and devout Christians in our readership—Father McMurphy

How to Lose (eMpTy)

I ain't scared of Chaka, man. I ain't afraid of shit. But seriously, who could possibly be afraid of the lovable Chaka character from the '70s television series, Land of the Lost? Doesn't really matter, it's just sort of a rule of mine to waste a little of your time trying to be witty, but let's get on with the in-depth review of Scared of Chaka and their latest release, How To Lose.

Scared of Chaka is a thrashin' punk rock band who are not afraid to take a stab at melody and this CD is eight songs that crash through garage/punk/pop/noise/? in just under 17 minutes, which is why you have to play it twice through every time your listen to it, 'cause it just ain't long enough—Joey Germ



Tweet, Tweet My Lovely (Fat Wreck Chords)

Dudes, Malcolm Tent here. How you doin'? Man, did you hear all that noise about Muggsy McMurphy gettin' fired from the Wiglar? Man, that shit was weak, but hell, I didn't say shit in his defense, I gotta admit. I feel awful but I was sure they were gonna sack me, but I lucked out again. I think it's 'cause I'm in the can so much nobody really knows I'm around.

At any rate, time to earn my keep and review a couple of CDs for yah. First up is a punk band that I think are British 'cause they got a bunch of English cuss words in their songs, like on the song "Arsehole" which is English slang for, you know, asshole and it's got other curse words in that song like wanker, toss pot, toe rag, gob shite, fuck wit and others that I've been using around the office and crackin' everybody up with. Like I'll say, "whose the bleedin' toss pot who ate me last Honey Bun?". But yeah, I like this CD and if they ain't British, that's even funnier—Malcolm Tent

Twisted by Design (Fat Wreck Chords)

Hey, it's me Malcolm again with Round Two of my record reviews. This is a pop/punk/ska band called Strung Out and boy are they strung out on pop/punk/ska, but they shouldn't feel bad 'cause they are not alone. In fact, there seem to be literally hundreds and hundreds of bands that sound like these guys so they are in good company. And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes my working week—Malcolm Tent

99th Dream (Zero Hour)

Looks like a brand new label and brand new album by British Rockers, Swervedriver. At times they reminded me of the Grifters, English-style, you know? Slow jams that rock and build and subside and rock again. You know, I like it—P.C. Jones

Rox (AmRep)

Supernova are not the first band that's claimed to be from another planet, in this case the planet Cynot, but I called up a friend of mine who works at the Adler Planetarium here in Chicago and Cynot does not even exists. Yeah, it's not even a real planet.

Actually, this CD is a lot of fun and I've heard they put on one monkey of a live show. The song "Mommy" is brilliant and made me weep. They manage to sound like the Dickies sometimes, sometimes like Cheap Trick, but sometimes the singer sounds like Adam Sandler doing a bad impression of Johnny Rotten, super obnoxious, but funny—Scat in the Hat

Third Harmonic Distortion (Morphius)

Other reviewers have compared Third Harmonic Distortion to some really great bands that I'm sure you've heard of. This reviewer isn't gonna go that route if for no other reason that it's way to fuckin' easy and might even be considered cheating or just lazy journalism, and although I will fight to the death, the sucker that says I ain't lazy as the next slacker music reviewer, like I said I just ain't going that route.

I will say that Third Harmonic Distortion have definitely been listening to their fair share of indie rock in the last couple of years and those influences abound on this record and can't be ignored. The only problem with that is, I hate indie rock. You see my dilemma here—Joey Germ

Make America Strong (Soda Jerk)

I think I know where the Thumbs are most of the time. Actually, I used that very same joke in a review of their last release. But hell, it was brilliant. I'm just thankful for the Thumbs new record so could use that gem again. Diagnosis: yet more punk rock. Prescription: bring back metal—P.C. Jones

Role Models for Amerika (Alternative Tentacles)

Tribe 8 draws its sound mostly from a Southern California punk rock legacy. It's the band's sexual politics that makes them controversial and of which they are no doubt sick to death of dealing with and talking about, but hey, it's how we define each other for good or for ill. So while you may say, "they're lesbians, so what?" it gives them new subject matter to deal with in the traditional framework of a three chord brick to the head. There may not be much about Role Models for Amerika that you could call groundbreaking but it does have energy, spirit, venom and plenty o' attitude. In other words, all the necessary ingredients for a punk rock record—Jayne Wayne


Punk...It's All About the Orchis Factor (Suburban Home)

This is a 26 song punk rock sampler which features 26 punk rock bands put out by Suburban Home Records out there in Boulder, Colorado. Some of the bands you may have heard of, possibly from reading about them in this magazine. The Nobodys, Oblivion, Against All Authority, Homeless Wonders are all on labels that have been brave enough to send their releases our way. Blink-182 has got a song on here for all you MTV watchin' punks who need to be told what to buy. I can't give you a breakdown of the better bands and the better songs on this CD 'cause that would be way, way too much work and I have to go do something else right now, but like any such sampler, you take the good with the bad and decide for yourself if you want more of any of it—Joey Germ

Various (OFF-White)

This is actually a sweet little gem of a various artists four song EP. I think they should get together and form a super group. Smitten contribute a quirky short and sweet pop tune chock full of cultural references "Tor Johnson", Caboose has a good old fashioned banjo workin' on "Funny Things" and on the song "Path of Least Resistance" Paul Johnson croons and strums away on his acoustic guitar like they're gonna come and drag his ass away at any moment, which they might—Joey Germ

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