Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Record Review by Dave K.

Well, Ronny has asked me if I wanted to do some reviews for his site. I was a little hesitant at first because I know how I am. When I used to review for my old publication, Hardware fanzine, I was pretty brutal. Most of the releases I was sent really were either below or pretty average. So here’s the first of what I hope is a weekly review column.

Please be advised, that I haven’t really heard anything in like 5 years. So chances are I don’t know a thing about any of these bands. If you would like me to review your new release(Cd/MP3/book/zine/DVD), send them to the address below. Good luck.

Youngblood Records were the first to send something, and what a something it is. When you get a CD with a lot of pictures showing the band jumping in mid-air, it tends to send up flags. I mean chances are the music is nowhere near as good as the action pictures would presume. Not in this case, as the latest CD Overload by California’s Lights Out comes out blazing. If Infest played a slower and the songs were longer, plus throw in other late 80’s/early 90’s California sounds, they would probably sound like this. This disc is great. The only negative I could say is the cover art just doesn’t work. Not to say the art is bad, better than average. Just that if I saw this in a store, I’d probably pass it up and miss out on a really good hardcore music release. Available at: www.youngblood-records.com

Next up a grouping of CD releases from Havoc Records. Felix has been running his label for a long time now and has a good ear for punk/hardcore music. These are some of the more recent releases, how do these stack up? Victims In Blood are a Swedish HC band who play fast, grindy music and sound pretty good, but it’s your standard stuff. Lyrics are of a personal nature. Philly’s R.A.M.B.O. (Resisting American Military Business Operations…now that’s a plan if I ever heard one!) has their 2nd full length CD out called Bring It! You know, I really don’t know what to make of this one. The music is for the most part crust/fast hardcore, with quite a bit of melodic guitar throughout. It just doesn’t grab me. The thing I do like it the presentation. The lyric booklet is full color. After each song lyric is an explanation of the song and a website where you can go to get more info. There is also more info on the thank sheet. While I might not agree with some of the ideas, it’s great that there is a way to follow up & find out more. This CD comes with a DVD of band performances. Another Swedish act (you know Felix really likes the Scandinavian stuff). Regulations plays straight up choppy 3 chord punk with good vocals. The singer sounds like someone familiar but I can’t figure it out. This not like the crap that some of the bigger American “punk” labels are putting out, so you might want to give this one a shot. Man, when I first put on the next CD, Taking You Down With Me by Tear It Up, I was like, “Where have they been all my life!” Run to the store or get on-line and order this now. Best thing I have heard in a long time. Tear It Up plays some raging hardcore. Definitely has a early ‘80s influence, have their instruments tuned like Black Flag does on “Damaged” and just kicks ass. Great cover too. Contains a live set as a bonus. Shame they are no more, I missed out…all these releases (and more including a lot of great re-issues) are available at: www.havocrex.com

Recently, I checked out the latest MDC CD Magnus Dominus Corpus. You know, most bands out there should take a lesson from these hardcore/punk rock legends. Fast early 80’s hardcore, with some weirdness thrown in and those great sarcastic political lyrics. If more bands would just keep their integrity and play the style that made them popular, people would be happier and bitch less. MDC is on tour right now, check out the recent interview in MRR. Get this disc at: www.suddendeath.com

Now for the really bad...Tommy Gutless Death, Honor or Glory Bound sounds like they are a candidate for the second stage at the Sean Hannity “Freedom Concert”. Long drawn out weak “streetpunk” (their term, not mine), lyrics are on the personal/working class side. Seems to go on forever. Definitely bad barroom music, but there is an audience for this stuff. New Jersey’s Broken Heroes have been around for a long time and have a new release I Told You Once, and is some really boring punk/Oi!. Recorded well, musicianship is good but the music just doesn’t do it for me. If you are so inclined both of these are available at: www.streetanthemrecords.com

Dave’s Moldy Oldie Pick: sometimes downloading MP3s really is a good thing especially when you find a gem. In this case, an old band which if we had known about them earlier, we would call them “classic”. LOS OLVIDADOS was a California band I knew from the Not So Quiet On The Western Front comp from the early 1980’s. This was one of the first records I had…some of the first punk & hardcore I had the pleasure of hearing. I never knew much about them except that they had a good track on it. A couple of months ago, I downloaded some MP3’s which I thought was a “lost” record. These tracks are some of the best punk/hardcore you’ll ever hear. Why the hell during my tape trading days didn’t I come across this? Not sure. Some of the songs are classic South California punk, others are great Oi! tinged tunes. After some research, I found out that the great label Alternative Tentacles released this in 2002 as “Listen To This!”. This release is a MUST! If you are a fan of early 80’s punk/HC…you must have this in your collection and play it often to make up for lost time. AT also has many other re-issues worth picking up. Go to: www.alternativetentacles.com

That’s it for now…this column will get bigger and better as more people send stuff for review…again CD’s/MP3s/books/DVD/fanzines to:

David Koenig
1990 Pinehurst View Drive
Grayson, GA 30017

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