Those Responsible: $-Elvis McCheese #-Princess Buttercup
5 symbols ($ or #)-Almost as good as Sparkmarker, buy it at Scratch Records now.
4 -Almost as good as a band that is almost as good as Sparkmarker, buy it at Scratch Records tomorrow.
3-Okay, but nowhere near as good as Sparkmarker, buy it used at Scratch.
2-Probably couldn't even do a decent cover of a Sparkmarker song, don't buy it (unless if they have it at Scratch), tape it off of a friend instead.
1 symbol-Forget it, go spend your money on Sparkmarker stuff.
ATARI TEENAGE RIOT-NOT TOUR BUSINESS E.P.
(Digital Hardcore/Grand Royal)
This could kick the crap out of the Prodigy. Way more angry, way more aggressive, and way more innovative. $$$$
ATOM SMASHER-REX CASSETTE
I don't care what Keith Parry says, I like this tape even though they do sound better live. These ex-Elvis Love Child guys put out four fairly strong J. Church/Jawbreaker veined punk tunes. Pretty bad recording quality, but still worth the three bux.####
BLUES EXPLOSION-ORANGE L.P.
This is their best record so far. But, unfortunately the quality of songs is not consistent. The first side is incredible with the standout tracks being Very Rare, Sweat and the title track Orange. The B-Side is basically pretty boring and uninspired except for the last few songs. The Blues Explosion is like a crap sandwich on fresh baked bread. The stuff on the top and the bottom tastes good but the center leaves a foul taste in your mouth. $$$$ 1997: After a few more listens, I've determined it doesn't get any better than this. $$$$$
THE COWARDS-DEMO CASSETTE
The first time I heard this tape I was pissed off because I was expecting a lot from this Hugo spin-off and didn't find it in my first listening. But after seeing them play with Sludge on the weekend I decided to give this tape another try and much to my surprise, I enjoyed it. The first and third tracks are great little pop/punk like tunes. The last track (4 songs total), sounds like one of the more messed up Naked Raygun tunes, which is cool. ###
THE DEAD MILKMEN-CHAOS RULES (LIVE AT THE TROCADERO) CD
Finally, something new from the Dead Milkmen. If Poison Idea are "the kings of punk", then I guess that makes the Dead milkmen "the court jesters of punk". Recorded in 1992 and 1994 at Philadelphia's legendary Trocadero club this album has a very good mix of early material, which is the only problem I have with this. There is nothing from their last two albums, although the early stuff is the best I still like some of the newer stuff! Still awesome sound quality and witty and incredibly hilarious dialogue between songs makes this one of my favorite live albums (look for the hidden song). $$$$
I don't care what all the other zines have been saying, I like this. Essentially for anyone who liked the Beastie Boys "Polly Wog Stew" E.P.. 11 songs in under 12 minutes! $$$$
D.J. SHADOW-MIDNIGHT IN A PERFECT WORLD 12"
I can not express how brilliant this guy is! In an industry where gansta rap seems to dominate and everyone follows trends and are too scared to try something new, this guy is a real innovator. This is pretty much old school, but with a ton of twists and surprises. $$$$$
DOWNSET-DO WE SPEAK A DEAD LANGUAGE CD
I am so happy that they don't sound as much as Rage Against The Machine on this album as they did on their first one. This is pretty good stuff. Stand out tracks include "Pocket Full Of Fatcaps" and the very hardcore, very fast sounding "Against The Spirits". $$$$
DR. OCTAGON-INSTRUMENTALYST DOUBLE LP
First of all, I gotta thank Len for lending me this record. As the title suggests it's all instrumentals. It's good, but no D.J. Shadow, that's for sure. $$$$
EARTH CRISIS-ALL OUT WAR E.P. (Reissue)
This should of stayed out of print! It is so cheesy! The music is fine, in fact the music kicks butt. The vocals are a joke. That can't be the same Karl Buechner, can it. It sounds like someone doing a bad impersonation of the more rap like New York Hardcore vocal style (example-Biohazard). For only the most hardcore of straightedgers. $$ 1997: After a few more listens I got more use to the vocals. $$$
EARTH CRISIS-DESTROY THE MACHINES L.P.
This is really good. Not to innovative, but still a pretty darn fine effort on the part of these boys. A quality record, although the lead singer is kinda goofy lookin' if ya know what I mean. Dang it son! You gotta stop takin life so seriously. The first side took a while to grow on me, but the second side gave me a nice hard kick in the butt the first time I listened to it. $$$$
Why did I bother buying this? I'm starting to hate Tower Records. Every time I go down to the U.S. they seem to have major label vinyl at relatively decent prices and I just can't resist (you know how expensive it is to get any major label stuff on vinyl up here?). One song, that's all. Just one song was all I liked. They kept playing "Stutter" on the radio and it started to grow on me. I gotta stay away from the radio. Anyone want to buy an Elastica record? It's only been listened to once and it still has the exclusive, vinyl-only Elastica Fan Club magazine. $
ELECTRIC FRANKENSTEIN-E.F. THEME/FAST & FURIOUS 7"
Fast & Furious is definitely a good description of this 7". Garage rock done right, dang it! $$$$
FACE TO FACE-BIG CHOICE CD
(Victory-not the same Victory that Earth Crisis is on I think)
In this case it does appear that signing to a major (in this case a subsidiary of a major) has negatively affected a band. It still kicks butt, but nowhere as much as the first L.P. on Fat does. Buy it, but make sure you acquire "Don't Turn Away" and all of their 7"s first. $$
FACE TO FACE-S/T LP
Yes! The old Face To Face I know & love is back! After being so disappointed by "Big Choice", I was so happy to throw this on the turntable and find out that it rocked! $$$$
FITZ OF DEPRESSION-I'M THE MAN 7"
Finally! It's about time Fitz released something new! Both songs on this 7Ó are 80Ős covers. Side A is an incredibly fast and kick ass cover of "I'm The Man" by Joe Jackson. Side B is an equally fast and kick ass cover of "Welcome To The Working Week" by Elvis Costello. This 7Ó also has a hilarious cover. Check these guys out live if you ever get the chance, you won't be disappointed. $$$$$
FUGAZI-RED MEDICINE LP
Anticipation, the anticipation of a million youth wearing t-shirts they bought at the thrift store. Anticipation fulfilled, but just bairly. $$$$
GODHEADSILO-ELAPHANTITUS OF THE NIGHT 7"
(Kill Rock Stars)
After seeing them open for the Melvins (they, along with Acid King, replaced Wayne Kramer, who buy the way sucks, last minute) I had to buy their stuff. Live they were intense. Just a bass, vocals, & drums, no guitars to get in the way. On vinyl they're just as intense. Buy it before it buys you! $$$$
GOOD RIDDANCE-FOR GOD AND COUNTRY LP
This band actually seems to be trying to break away from the standard Epitaph/Fat/SoCal sound that is so common these days. Only about half the songs sound like Bad Religion. These guys are actually pretty good, and a lot more innovative then the majority of their label mates. $$$ 1997: This grows on you. $$$$
Skate-punk with a metal influence. Awesome!!! "Skate the Haight" is one of my favorite songs of all time. The other three songs on this are also awesome. I heard they have a new album out, gotta find it! $$$$$
HEAD-STREET LEVEL ASSAULT 12"
Unless if you've been living in a closet (or Chilliwack) you must have heard the hype. Trust me, it is all justified. These guys are incredible. It looks like someone has risin' up to take the vacancy left by the Ramones retirement. Song #1- 1:25, song #2- 1:12, song #3 1:30.... You get the idea. Three chords and a nice poster. Hunt this down now, kill if necessary. $$$$$
HUNTINGTONS-THE ONLY ONE E.P.
Question: Are we not Screeching Weasel? Answer: We are the Huntingtons! $$$
J CHURCH-THE DRAMA OF ALIENATION L.P.
(Honest Don's Hardly Used Recordings)
After having to wait so long for a new release by these guys (like a week maybe), I was so happy to walk into Scratch Records and see a new J Church record, especially considering how few releases they have (a few thousand or so). I knew what to expect, I got it. $$$$$
LESS THAN JAKE-MAKING FUN OF THINGS YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND 10"
The Specials beat the crap out of Operation Ivy in a dark alley, well the bassist and guitarist from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones watch and don't bother to call the cops. $$$$
SHANE MACGOWAN AND THE POPES-THE SNAKE L.P.
If you don't know who Shane MacGowan is don't bother reading this. After listening to this it's obvious that his split with the Pogues hurt them a lot more then it hurt him. In fact, this album is better then the last two MacGowan put out when he was with the Pogues. There are a few songs where Shane tries to rock out, but it just doesn't work for him. Try to stick to the classics Shane, you know that's where you do you best work. This has been re-released with a lot of extra tracks, so if you buy it make sure you get the second pressing. $$$$
Well it's no surprise that Atlantic finally dumped the Melvins. The only real surprise was that they lasted three albums on a major label. I'm not saying this because they suck. I love the Melvins, they're one of my favorite bands of all time. I'm saying this because they're obviously a band that about 99.9% of the population doesn't understand, which is unfortunate because that means they will never experience the joys of the Melvins. Anyway, this album continues on from where Stag left off, so don't worry, it's not another Prick. $$$$
MUSTARD PLUG-EVILDOERS BEWARE L.P.
This has been rocking my world since the day I bought it. This is pop-punk style ska and it is soooo good! I can't get songs like "You", "Mendoza", and "Not Again" out of my head! This is a great record to do light garden work to and I mean that in a good way. $$$$$
MXPX-LIFE IN GENERAL L.P.
(Tooth & Nail)
I swear these guys seem to get better with each release. Any fan of Epitaph/Fat style pop-punk should buy this immediately! If you get the chance see them on tour this summer with Face To Face because they are going to be huge soon and then you'll be forced to hate them. $$$$$
THE NEW BUMB TURKS-INFORMATION HIGHWAY REVISITED
A phenomenal album of straight up punk rock 'n' roll. Every song is a winner but Bullish on Bulls**t, Dented 'n' Spent, Girl Can Help It, and Grandpa Atomic are standout trax. I am really pissed I couldn't see them when they were here last year.####
NOFX-I HEARD THEY SUCK LIVE L.P.
You think they would have at least waited until Bad Religion released a live album. This is a pretty good, quality record (of course what else would you expect from NOFX), except it doesn't seem right without "Kill All The White Man", I guess I can forgive them though since they do include an awesome (if not a little too brief) cover of "Nothing But A Nightmare" by Rudimentry Peni. You know your going to buy it. $$$$
NO USE FOR A NAME-LECHE CON CARNE!
Why didn't someone tell me Bad Religion had a new record out? Opps, sorry wrong band. Although this is far from being at all original it is still pretty good and they are excellent live. Long time fans were probably surprised by this album since No Use For A Name has changed their sound quite a bit. $$$
Yes, I know this isn't a new release, but it is being re-released very soon so I figured I'd dig deep into my collection, pull it out, dust it off, and review it for everyone who missed it the first time, which seems to be most people. Actually I didn't have to dig too deep, or dust off too much dust because I listen to this often. In my opinion it is tied with Ignition for being their best album. Don't get me wrong, Smash is good too, but I get sick of it if I listen to it too much. Anyway, buy this when it's reissued or if you can dish out the money for an original copy do it because Noodles hates the cover so they'll probably change it. $$$$
OPERATION IVY-UNRELEASED ENERGY
This features the "Plea for Peace", "Lint, King of Ska" and "Gilman" 7 inches plus 18 energy demos. The sound quality is decent and the packaging is also OK. Not totally essential, but worth tracking down (I think Scratch might have a few on tape left). $$$$
Everyone seems to love this album. I don't (I can already see the lynch mob starting to gather in front of my house). This is nowhere near as good as Unknown Road. It's still good though, just a tad disappointing after a record as incredible as Unknown Road. $$$
PENNYWISE-FULL CIRCLE L.P.
See above. $$$
PINHEAD GUNPOWDER-CARRY THE BANNER 10"
(Too Many Records)
What is the deal with 10Ós. They cost more to make then 12Ós and have less space yet everyone seems to be releasing stuff on them. Could someone please explain this to me, it makes no sense. Why would you spend more to get less? It just goes against common sense and basic human nature! Anyway, enough about that. This is really good, it features Billie Joe from Green Day and other people from other popular East Bay bands, and has an awesome cover of "Mahogany", which was originally done by Diana Ross, so you know it has to be good. $$$$
PUNK TV-COMPILATION L.P.
I wanted to like this but it sucks way too much. Almost all of these with the exception of Less Than Jake's version of "Laverne & Shirley" seem to be uninspired and utterly boring. Actually this isn't completely true because I never listened to the second side. After the first side I didn't feel like putting the effort into flipping the record over so I could hear the other side. $
PUNK U.S.A.-COMPILATION L.P.
This is the best compilation ever made, which is very surprising because it does not have Sparkmarker on it (I guess they're not American, but still...). I did buy it at Scratch Records though, and you should buy everything that they sell at Scratch. Anyway, back to the comp. This amazin' slab 'o' punk was compiled by the amazing Ben Weasel (of Screeching Weasel fame, duh!?!) and contains songs from Mr. Weasel's own band, Screeching Weasel, and Face To Face, Jawbreaker, Judas Priest, the Queers and a whole bunch of other cool punk bands. $$$$$
PROPAGANDI-WHERE QUALITY IS JOB #1 DBL. 7"
This is a compilation of eight older songs and a live version of "Who Will Help Me Bake This Bread?". Biting sarcasm and lotsa metal guitar. Yellow and brown colored vinyl. $$$$
THE QUEERS-MY OLD MAN'S A FATSO 7"
This sounds more like their older, faster stuff. Four covers. The standout track here is their version of "Murder In the Brady House" $$$$
RANCID-...AND OUT COME THE WOLVES L.P.
Well I'm glad they didn't sign to Sony. Not entirely because I think it would hurt their music too much, but because of how much I would have had to pay to get this on vinyl. I was a bit worried at first because people I knew who got this as soon as it came out seemed disappointed. After hearing it all of my fears disappeared, I loved it! They have a much more varied sound on this album then previous ones. If they decided to do nothing but ska I would still be happy. After the time Lint and Matt have put into the punk scene (Operation Ivy, MDC, Downfall, Dance Hall Crashers) they definitely deserve any success they may find. $$$$$
Ben Weasel's new band. A-side could kick your butt, B-side is okay, but sounds like they ripped off the Ramones. Buy it anyway! $$$
SINEATER-DUNCECAP 7" & S/T 7"
Well it took me long enough to listen to these two slabs 'o' wax and now that I have I wish I would have listened to them earlier on. They both rock! Please, please, please, anyone from Sineater, if your reading this, please play a live show in Vancouver sometime soon! $$$$
SCREECHING WEASEL- KILL THE MUSICIANS C.D.
It's about time! This was supposed to come out right after the "How To Make Enemies & Irritate People" L.P., but it still was worth the wait. This is a collection of out of print, unreleased, & Live songs by the only snotty, fast, in your face punk band that still matters (except for NOFX & Guttermouth). 31 tracks, almost all of them unforgettable, buy it now! My only complaint is that it's not available on vinyl.$$$$$
SLUDGE / RUSTY NAILS-CORRYŐS SLUG & SNAIL DEATH SPLIT 7"
Two of my favorite local bands on one record, and I'm not just saying this so Al-Fan (Sludge's Manager) won't kill me. This is the best Sludge has ever sounded! Two very fast, skate-punk, style songs. I think Connelly's vocals have significantly improved since their last release (Coquitlam C.D., also worth buying). The Rusty Nail's side is also awesome. Unfortunately this is one of the Nails final releases. Their drummer, Pat, is moving to India in November. This is definitely a fitting final release for them, although Al-Fan and myself are trying to convince them to let us release some of their final recordings. Look closely, it's on brown vinyl. $$$$$
SPARKMARKER / MYSTERY MACHINE-SPLIT 7"
Finally something new from the mighty Marker. This is their first release since Ryan left and although Kim is certainly no Ryan he still does a decent job on vocals. Try to think of this as a new band instead of thinking of them as Sparkmarker (they should have changed the name after Ryan left). Don't even bother listening to the Mystery Machine side. This would have received a 5 if it wasn't a split and if Ryan was still doing vocals. $$$$
STRAIN-CATARACT/TURN THE TIDE 7"
More sXe hardcore in the style of Undertow/Unbroken/all the other sXe hardcore bands out there these days. I must admit though, I like this a lot (me too! -Elvis), it is definitely their best release yet. Both sides are really heavy with the B side being the faster of the two songs. Even Jody's vocals don't seem to be as annoying as they usually are. ####
SUPERTONES-SUPERTONES STRIKE BACK C.D.
Ska, ska, ska! It's nice to see that these boys are making progress. This album is definitely way more diverse then their previous effort. Don't get me wrong, I thought their last album was good, the only problem was that I got bored of it real fast. This release definitely has enough stuff to keep me entertained! $$$$$
TEENGENERATE-GET ACTION L.P.
Teengenerate is definitely the leading Garage Rock band at the moment. 19 fast songs, not one of them bad. The only complaint I have with this album is the sound quality. A lot of people say that low-fi quality is part of Teengenerate's sound, I don't agree. I've heard what they sound like with decent recording (example-their track on the last Nardwuar compilation) and they sound a lot better. $$$$
TRIBES OF NEUROT-REBEGIN DBL. 7"
If you haven't heard yet this is the new Neurosis release. It's kind of like the last few tracks on "Enemy of the Sun". Weird stuff here. One song to represent each of the four elements. And I thought punk bands didn't do concept albums. Part's we're recorded live, then some parts were recorded in the studio, then it was all mixed together (Kinda like "Anthem of the Sun" by the Grateful Dead. Anthem of the Sun, Enemy of the Sun, Hmmm.) It's Neurosis so you know you have to buy it right now, even if it is kind of strange. $$$$
UNBROKEN-LIFE, LOVE, REGRET L.P.
I love this record! I lost track of how many times I've listened to this, but it has been a lot. You would have though their previous album, "Ritual", was perfection, but this album is even better. Incredible guitar, awesome bass lines, insane drumming, and lyrics that read like poetry! A sXe classics. $$$$$
UNDERTOW-EDGE OF QUARREL C.D.
(Lost & Found)
This is a compilation of a bunch of their stuff prior to the "At Both Ends" album. 10 tracks, #11 is a joke, the title is Strike and it is a 5 second sound bite of bowling pins being knocked down. Not one bad song on this. It's Undertow so of course it kicks and you should buy it immediately! $$$$$
Apparently this is the last release by Undertow, which is just incredibly depressing. Here is my reaction during the first listen. Delusion: this is one of those songs that is just too heavy (yes it is possible for music to be too heavy, just look at Death Metal), absolutely no melody. Control: The beginning sounds like a Tool song (I don't like Tool), then it gets worse. The annoying guitar sound starts. That sound you get when you rub the pick up and down the strings. This sound is present for most of the song. I'm starting to think this is going to be very disappointing, especially considering this is their last one. Noose: Yes!!! Incredible! This is the Undertow I remember. Sixteen-twenty Three: Starts off very slow. Lotsa feedback. Incredible bass line. Then the guitars come in. Then John starts singing. I think I'll forgive them for the first side. The CD version also includes demo versions of "Taken" and "Cedar". $$$$
VANDALS-LIVE FAST, DIARREA L.P.
I've heard so much about this band. Their supposed to be one of the oldest and best punk bands around. After hearing this album I seriously question that. Don't get me wrong, this is good, but nothing too spectacular or innovative. I guess it's still worth buying it just to hear "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (did I spell that right?) which has the lyrics from that Mary Poppins song sang over the music from "We're Only Gonna Die (Of Our Own Arrogance)" by Bad Religion. Borrow a friend's copy and tape it or better yet just keep it and never speak to your friend again. $$